Widely known, the history of Art has been entrenched with discriminatory assumptions from the hegemonic Westerner critics regarding to what come to be called the uncivilised societies such as African ones. The understanding one may have of aesthetics from Western writers and philosophers such as Gobineau, Kant, Hume, and Hegel seems to be valued as appropriate and applicable only to Western culture. Aesthetics can de defined as ³a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty.´But, according to African intellectuals such the Senegalese poet Leopold Sedar Senghor, these ³Eurocentric scholars have drawn their theory from the European aesthetics which is rooted from the remote Greek civilisation characterized by a Hellenic rational philosophy named Logos´. In the aesthetic perspective, this Eurocentric view of the negating image of African art is a reality and was mostly conveyed through imperialist teachings in Europe and the other countries of the Third world during the 1880s. Besides, Black people, who were stereotyped as µprimitive beings¶, are thought unable to produce meaningful aesthetic artefacts. This is highlighted through these words of the Senegalese Secretary General of the Biennale AFRIC¶ART Ousseynou Wade: ³In the domain of visual art as in others, the quantifier African has a negative connotation.´In other words, Ousseynou Wade depicts Western view on Black aesthetics as being useless in so far as Africans are considered as uncivilised group of people. Nevertheless, in the purpose of deconstructing racist assessment about the unknown Negro art, African American intellectuals from the Diaspora launched the movement Black aesthetics renaissance in the earlier 1950s. The origin of this latter trend can be traced back in America where African slaves who were deported

to work in the Southern American plantations between the 15th and the late 18th century. After the Civil War and the Reconstruction in 1880s, Black slaves who were stereotyped as uncultured and unrefined human beings, succeed in gaining more or less their social freedom. Despite the African American liberation from works in the plantations, there is a yearn for cultural self- definition. In this context, Black artists and intellectuals agreed on Black aesthetics rehabilitation through the ³African-American New Negro´ movement created in 1925. This Negro trend spread throughout the world thanks to prominent Black American writers such as Langston Hugh, Toni Morrison, Claude Mc Kay and the like. This Black aesthetics has influenced many postcolonial and postmodernist African artists, particularly writers such as the Kenyan Ngugi Wa Thiong¶o, the Nigerians Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and others. Born Akinwande Oluwale Soyinka in 1934, the artist and activist posits that writing and politics are interwoven. Besides, Soyinka is very rooted in his Yoruba culture to which he was very early initiated.´His parents balanced Christian training with regular visit to the father¶s ancestral home in µIsara, a small Yoruba community secured in its traditions.´ As a writer, his interest in Yoruba culture is visible in his being a dramatist, essayist, poet and novelist. In his plays, this is marked by the presence of Yoruba traditional songs, dances, themes, gods, and spirits. According to Eldred Durosimi Jones, the writer¶s essay ³The Fourth Stage´ develops a theory of Yoruba tragedy by examining the ideas underlying Yoruba theology.´In the domain of sociology, Soyinka¶s traditional theory the ³Fourth stage´ can be considered as a ³deep image´ because ³it links the physical world to the spiritual world´. This deep image is mainly rooted in Yoruba tradition which the Yoruba consider as the basis of a well organisation of their community which is threatened by the influence of Western way of life.

In fact, African intellectuals, in order to counter colonial discourses and enhance Negro culture, decide to readapt the Negro creed ³Black Aesthetics´ in African realities. In this respect, the Senegalese poet Léopold Sedar Senghor coins in Liberté I, Negritude et Humanisme ³African Negro Aesthetics´ which is an echo of the Black aesthetic movement and whose main aim is to re-define and re-assess the authenticity of African oral tradition. As for Soyinka, African Negro aesthetics represented in Yoruba tradition through mainly ³sacred Oriki (praise-chants)´ is much related to African philosophy. This latter which can be defined as Negro metaphysic vision is generally performed through ritual dramatic materials such as sculpture, painting, poetic arts and masquerade. However, these latter oral tools started to be transmitted in literature through dramatic and novel forms by African prominent writers. Among post colonial writers one can cite the aforementioned Yoruba writer Wole Soyinka. In fact, he painfully realizes that, while resisting colonialism new elites start where the departing white colonialists had left off: the process of cultural assimilation and political exploitation. Hence, he urges the African writers to become the conscience of their nations. In order to affirm his rootedness on Yoruba culture and political commitment he writes literary works such as the ritual dramatic work A Dance of the Forests published in 1960 and the novel The Interpreters in 1965. In fact, Soyinka¶s literary output, generally, try to show the essential function of Orature through the exploration of Yoruba mythology and its ritual drama. In this respect, the interest of the survey is to describe the different traditional artworks such as visual, poetic and performed used by Soyinka in ADF and TI. Besides, the survey of these artistic devices will permit to show social and political impact on either on the characters or the audience.

In ADF, Soyinka depicts Yoruba belief which is transmitted through ritual drama. Western conception of drama traces back ³tragic art and its connection to history, three great moments: Aristotle; Hegel; Marx and Engels´. In nearly all cultures drama can be traced to ceremonies connected with religious rite. Soyinka¶s traditional theory is mainly based on Yoruba religious belief which is much related to the notion of time. For the Yoruba, the notions of space, time and traditional themes are linked and are characterized through the coexistence of past, present and future generation. Hence, Soyinka mingles the triplet notion of time (past, present and future) where each of the characters such as Demoke, Rola and Adenebi, who uphold different social statuses, have to relive their bad and good deeds with the enactment of ritual artworks such as poetry, sculpture, masquerade, and the like. This religious process is echoed as one of the concerns of the Yoruba traditional theory the µFourth stage¶ which, according to Soyinka, can redeem the individual and permits him to better master his destructive and creative powers. The performer¶s resulting state of mind, after being experience self conscious revision, which is the ability, for the characters, to control their binary opposite force (destructive and creative) which is repetitive for all generations and races. Soyinka¶s characters are modelled on the tremendous experience of Ogun, the Promethean god of the Yoruba pantheon. In the play, the conflict of the binary destructive and creative forces of human beings is represented through the carver Demoke¶s sin because of his apprentice¶s murder and his ability to save the HalfChild from Eshuoro¶s hands, the evil spirit. In the dramatic work, Soyinka questions African remote, present and future dramatic socio-political experiences symbolised through the tragedy of the Yoruba mythic figures such as Ogun, the revolutionary and creative deity and human community¶s living people. For the

playwright, it is through this ritual enactment of self discovery that the human being can be aware of his condition in order to better face socio-political problems. TI is a satiric work about Nigeria postcolonial context where traditional heritage and domestic policy are mismanaged due to Colonial influence. Satire is defined in The Oxford Advance Learner¶s Dictionary English as a ³term applied to any literary form, in poetry or prose, which ridicules a situation, an individual, or an idea´ is very recurrent in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI. Indeed, Yoruba traditional morality is jeopardized by new elites¶ assimilation characterized by megalomania and corruption. In this precarious socio-political context, the interpreters composed of Nigerian young intellectuals such as Bandele, Sekoni, Egbo, Kola, and the like try to make sense of their life. Hence, the characters Sekoni and Kola, sculptor and painter, try to detach themselves from the unprogressed Nigerian society through artworks confection. The skilful engineer Sekoni, disappointed because he is judged by his corrupted staff unable to build the station power of the village, turns to art particularly to sculpture, in order to relieve his frustration symbolised by his frenzy wood masterpiece the ³Wrestler´. Besides, TI is the portrayal of the experience of a group of young Nigerian intellectuals who decide to get isolated from the ignorant working class in order to interpret Nigerian social and political realities. Hence, Soyinka considers the ³The Wrestler´ as an authentic African Negro aesthetic artwork since it characterises the tragic and spiritual experiences of the character Sekoni. In this way, literary theories such as Marxism and Postmodernism favoured an active political and cultural examination of the traditional role of the artist. The latter, as a socially involved being, has to produce literary works critically reflecting or criticizing African community values and vices. Soyinka, the postmodernist writer, uses his literary trend as narrative structure to examine the

binary opposite forces (Ogun¶s destructive and creative forces). The latter inner being is, according to Soyinka and the Yoruba traditional vision in general, the result of traditional artworks enactment in ritual dramatic performance. In ADF and TI, Soyinka makes use of postmodernism which questions the principle of the authenticity of Yoruba ritual drama and artworks. African literature, including oral literature has been a means for African writers to examine and affirm African cultural values and to resist to Eurocentric hegemony on African society. In fact, while European views of literature often stress on separation of art and content, African consider art as conscious-writing. Black aesthetics is conveyed through oral literature by means of mythic or historical texts, narrative epic, ritual verse and plastic arts such as sculpture and painting in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI. In Liberté I, Negritude et Humanisme Senghor confirms, in these line, the authenticity and the re-awakening of African Negro aesthetics:
The Twentieth century will remain that of African Negro civilization discovery. First of all, in Negro society, it was the sculpture that provoked scandal, then admiration. But, now Europe begins to discover, step by step, tales, poetry, music, painting, philosophy.

The purpose of this study is to analyse African Negro Aesthetics and its social and political functions in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI. Hence it will permit to raise questionings that constitute the main parts of our survey. The first chapter is devoted to Soyinka¶s characterization which is rooted in Yoruba mythology. The second chapter displays the different traditional arts such as plastic arts, traditional poetry and songs; and masquerade which Soyinka applied as narrative devices. In the third chapter, we examine the thematic features of Soyinka¶s ritual drama and

mythology. It analyses the essential role of both the Yoruba artists and intellectuals in postcolonial Nigeria. Finally, Western literary patterns and Yoruba language influence are analysed in the fourth chapter. The answers of those interrogations determine African aesthetics¶ repercussion in Western literary structure in ADF and TI. Besides, such a survey is an attempt to show the efficacy of African Negro aesthetics characterized by the different traditional art forms in Soyinka¶s works. Hybrid literary technique which makes Soyinka¶s works labelled hermetic will be examined through language and imagery.


This chapter reviews Soyinka¶s use of African Negro aesthetics in his literary output. The Eurocentric depiction of black aesthetics is not favorable to the way the Negro considered beauty. The first wave of aestheticians, mainly composed of Westerners, did not describe Black aesthetics as functional but as decorative. But, Soyinka deconstructs this negative conception through the illustration of his traditional literary works such as ADF and TI. In the same way, Leopold Sedar Senghor remarks in Liberté I, Negritude et Humanisme that ³the Negro has established a rigorous hierarchy of Forces´. The Senegalese poet refers ³Forces´ to the supernatural beings such as the Ancestors¶ spirits. This literary work encompasses thematic as well as aesthetic aspects of Soyinka¶s concerns dealt with in his literary works. This is illustrated through the

sacred belief of the Yoruba human community regarding to the deities embodied by Soyinka¶s ritual traditional theory, the ³Fourth stage´. The latter concern is manifested literally through the Yoruba ritual enactment with traditional materials such as songs, dance or carving and painting in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI.

Moreover, the critic William Harris displays in ³The Complexity of Freedom´ the Yoruba mythological issue through the belief of a ³transition from the human to the divine essence´ in Soyinka¶s works. In other words, he

emphasizes the primal essence of human beings inspired from Yoruba mythology. In fact, the literary critic wants to show Soyinka¶s use of Yoruba mythic figures through his archetypal characterization which is applied as narrative device. Harris¶s arguments are relevant to our work because it permits to understand the traditional hierarchy through the supernatural beings and living people cohabitation which constitute one of African Negro Aesthetics¶ backgrounds. Besides, he keeps on asserting that this traditional classification will ³prepare us for a Quest which is µpart psychic, part intellectual grope´. Soyinka recourses, at the outset of ADF, to the narrative device called dramatic personae to show the cohabitation between the metaphysic and human beings. In A Handbook of Literary Terms, Francoise Grellet accounts for dramatic personae as the ³list of all the characters´ of a dramatic literary work. Yet, Soyinka characters introduction in ADF hint this social hierarchy believed by many African traditionalists. On the one hand, the play¶s dramatic personae consist principally of the living characters such as Demoke, the carver and poet, Rola, the whore. On the other hand, there are the forest dwellers composed mainly of the deities as Ogun, Obaniji and the spirituals as the dead couple, Eshuoro, and the like. Soyinka¶s

works are generally marked by his traditional experience which is rooted in African Negro Aesthetics. Moreover, in relation to African Negro aesthetics, characterization in Soyinka¶s works is very suggestive regarding to Yoruba traditional folklore. In TI, the painter Kola tries to identify his friends with the diverse µOrinsha¶ (deities) in his pantheon. Through masquerade performance in ADF, the characters¶ souls communicate with spirits which possess their own soul, according to Soyinka. That¶s why for Africans, the question of beauty is not luxury or artificial artworks as they have been conceived by Westerners, but is functional through its religious, communal and committed implication. Characterization, defined in The Oxford Advanced Learner¶s Dictionary as ³action or process of characterizing, especially the portrayals of human characters in novels, plays...´is used by Soyinka in relation with the Yoruba notion of cosmology which is very important regarding to Yoruba view of the genesis of the world creation. In this regard, Soyinka specifies:
The drama of the hero god is a convenient expression; gods they are identify by man as the role of an intermediary quester, an explorer into territories of µessence ideal¶ around whose edges man fearfully skirts.

The characters in Soyinka¶s literary works are traditionally conceived so that to better make the Africans, particularly the Yoruba, identify themselves through characters¶ behavior and characteristics. Among these characters we can mention the god Ogun which is present both in ADF and TI. The reflection of the Yoruba Pantheon in Soyinka¶s works is illustrated in the way he moulds archetypal characters as encompassing deities¶ characteristics and behavior. In other words, characters¶ tremendous social experiences in ADF and TI are paralleled to the

mythic tragedies of Yoruba deities, especially that of Ogun. Soyinka refers the protagonists the most to the Prometheus sprit god Ogun. The latter is one of the numerous gods which constitute the Yoruba pantheon where he seems to be the most prominent because he dares to link the divine and the living people. In their mythology, the Yoruba give him several attributes among which we can mention the promethean spirit used by Soyinka in ADF and TI. In connection to Soyinka¶s characterization, Osundare draws parallelism between some of the deities and his characters which are employed as archetypal narrative devices. Besides, Osundare deals with the issue of the religious connection between the Yoruba divine figures and the human community. Soyinka posits that ³the reference to Yoruba gods is very essential in Yoruba religion´ which is one of the prominent aspects of African Negro Aesthetics. In this context, the playwright¶s cosmic setting encompassing characters and plot is divided into two worlds, according to Yoruba traditional beliefs: the supernatural beings and the living people.

2.1. The Yoruba Supernatural Beings
The African traditional religious figures are mainly composed of deities, spirits and the Dead. These metaphysic figures¶ characteristics differ from one ethnic group to another though they share the same function which is mainly religious. The essay Le Theme de la mort dans la litterature Seerer by the Senegalese essayist, Amade Faye, is a very relevant study about the characteristics and function of Seerer mythology. For him, supernatural beings can play diverse roles which lead them to be categorized as the good and harmful spirits as it is highlighted through Amade Faye¶s words quoting L.V. Thomas: ³L.V. Thomas, through an inquiry about African Negro eschatology underlines the complex stake

between spirits which are harmful and social forces.´ The spirits have been conceived as the guardians of the world of dead people according to the African traditional belief. In Soyinka¶s Myth, Literature, and the African World, the spiritual beings lay guardians of the gulf which separates the divine beings from the earth dwellers. Soyinka applies this concept in ADF and TI to tackle with postcolonial issues which constitute mainly the vanishment of local culture due to the implimentation of colonial institutions and the social confrontation between the corrupted new eiltes and the working class. The supernatural beings are often located in natural environment such as the dense forests which are mainly located in Central and West Africa. According to African belief, especially to the Yoruba, the spirits are the reincarnation of some souls which fail to cross the gulf of the dead people. They are believed by the traditionalists to wander through rivers, water, rocks, forests and so forth. In T.I, Egbo who is depicted by Soyinka as an alienated Yoruba at the outset of the novel, become conscious of the presence of metaphysical beings's presence in the bridge, next to the a lake where he stays alone to meditate about the decisions which he has to take regarding to his corronation as the future king of his village. Some of the supernatural beings do not bear human beings¶ presence in their territories, that¶s why, the African fears quiet natural elements like forests, lakes and the like. They are alleged to react against living people who dare to profane their inhabitation. In ADF, Soyinka divides the characters into the forest dwellers and the living people. Among the forest dwellers there are Aroni, the Lame One, Eshuoro, a wayward cult-spirit, and sprits of Palm, Darkness, etc. The latter, mainly Eshuoro does not estimate Demoke, the woodcarver, because he is a living people whose job is to destroy the forest through his action of carving. The human community consists mainly of Demoke, a carver, Rola, a courtesan,

Adenibi, a council orator, who are summoned by the spirit Aroni to attend µThe Gathering of the Tribes¶. The latter is a kind of ritual trial where the

initiated(Demoke, Adenebi and Rola) have to dance for ancestors who are represented by the Dead man and the Dead woman. The act of dancing symbolises the processus of self discovery of the different criminals composed mainly of Demoke, Adenebi and Rola whose judgements are led by the Forest Head. However, Aroni informs the reader at the outset of the play that ³it was not as dignified a Dance as it should be´ (ADF, 2) because the dead couple are invited to the gathering of the tribes to tell human beings¶ past crimes which are represented through the past criminal deeds of Demoke, Rola and Adenebi. Moreover, Eshuoro which is a disciple to Oro, the chief spirit of the trees, considers the ritual meeting in the Forests as disrespectful in so far as there is the presence of Demoke the woodcarver whose alleged work is to destroy the nature. Through this mythic allegory, Soyinka analyses the destructive feature of the living people regarding to resourceful nature which is represented through the characters as Oro, Eshuoro, and Murete. The latter that is a tree demon, knows all activities which occur in the woodland. Demoke¶s carving of the totem, which is made up from the trunk of a tree, is denounced through Eshuoro¶s words as blasphemous:
Eshuoro: The totem, blind fool, drunk fool, insensitive fool. The totem, my final insult. The final taunt from the human Pigs. The tree that is marked down for Oro, the tree from which my followers fell to his death, foully or by accident, I have still to discover when we meet at the next wailing. But my body was stripped by the impious hands of Demoke, Ogun¶s favoured slave of the forge. My head was hacked of by his axe. Trampled, sweated on, bled on, my body¶s shame pointed at the sky by the adze of Demoke, will

I let this day pass without vengeance claimed blood for sap? (ADF, 48).

Soyinka examines the issue of deforestation which the human beings are directly or indirectly the agents of. Though, woodcarving is considered by the Yoruba as embodying religious concerns in so far as it often represents their divinities. Although woodcarving has religious interest to the Yoruba, one may not forget the importance of the nature survival which is threatened by deforestation. This shows that Soyinka¶s works do not only depicts the important role that oral tradition play, but they also question human beings¶ perilous enterprises regarding to the nature. Besides, these lines account for the crime of Demoke who makes fall Oremole, Oro¶s discipline, from the tree they were carving because of envy. Demoke, who is considered as the most skillful sculptor of the city, could not bear Oremole being beyond him while they were carving the totem. Then, he kills Oremole by making fall his apprentice down of the totem. The carver is summoned by the Forest Head to recognize his fault. Demoke¶s self discovery is portrayed by Soyinka through the performance of masquerade in which the masquerader is possessed by his past offense. Soyinka makes use of masquerade as narrative device to deal with social issues such as self-consciousness. The African believes metaphysical forces which are part of every day activities. They are represented mainly through animals and natural elements which are called totem. Soyinka¶s works reflect the most these traditional items which are rooted in Yoruba mythology. However, Yoruba deities are more present in Soyinka¶s works through the most visible one that is Ogun, the protector of the artists. He is the most visible deity representing the tragedy of the Yoruba Pantheon. In their mythology, the

Yoruba give him several attributes; some of them are present in ADF and TI. In Yoruba mythology, the gods and man were formerly separated by a void known as ³abyss of transition.´Characters such as Demoke, Sekoni and Kola, to fulfill their religious gap recourse to plastic arts mainly sculpture and painting to feel themselves close to the deities. Ogun is the only god in the Pantheon who dares to affront hostile forces in order to unite his fellow gods with man despite the suffering awaiting him. In Western culture, it is generally known through Prometheus, a figure in Greek mythology. He is famous for the sacrifice he made in favour of mankind through his rebellious act against Zeus. To grasp Ogun¶s Promethean spirit, it is crucial to set it in its context. For the Yoruba, the divine and human communities are separated by a void known as ³abyss of transition´ which has to be diminished through social demands. There is a social requirement which urges the living people to call for ancestors or deities through ritual enactments. The Yoruba needs to unite with the deities to recover Orisa nla¶s µcomplementary.¶ The Yoruba believe that the world was created by Oludumare who was their supreme deity. As Soyinka says in Myth, Literature and the African World, Orisa-nla (Obatala) is at the core of the Yoruba pantheon which is made of one hundred and one gods. He was attacked by his rebellious slave, Atunda who threw him a boulder. Consequently, he became fragmented and each fragment turned into deity. This complementary is mirrored in the gods¶ ability to merge both human and divine natures. In Soyinka¶s view, the abyss of transition is inhabited by forces which are hostile to its crossing. Ogun is the only god in the pantheon who dares challenge them in order to unite his fellow gods with man notwithstanding the sufferings awaiting him. It is from this rebelling act that he becomes the archetype of the promethean sprit in Yoruba mythology.

In ADF, this notion of connection between the Yoruba gods and the human community is represented through the ³Gathering of Tribes´, though consisting in ³«the kind of action that redeem mankind´(ADF, 7) it represents also unification between the world of the living, the deity, and the ancestors. It symbolizes the µFourth Stage¶ where Demoke, Rola, and Adenibi have to cross through traditional art forms such as masquerade, dance and songs. At the same time, it expresses the celebration of the glorious past represented through African historical empires famous deeds. It is highlighted through these lines:
Adenibi: («) Find the scattered sons of our proud ancestors. The builders of empires. («) Let them be our historical link for the season of rejoicing. Warriors. Sages. Conquerors. Philosophers. Mystics. (ADF, 32)

In TI, Ogun, the Yoruba god of the artists, is embodied by Sekoni; it is impelled by his desire to construct infrastructures which will improve the lot of his people. Through Sekoni¶s power of creativity, there is the intervention of Ogun which is Sekoni¶s guide in his project. His upheavals against the cancellation of Ijioha village¶s power station by the corrupted boss. His release is shown in the description the narrator gives of the carving ³The Wrestler´:
Taut sinews nearly agonizing in excess tension a bunched python caught at the instant of easing out, the balance of strangulation before release, it was all elasticity and strain. (TI, 99)

Besides, in ADF, there is character such as the carver Demoke who incarnates Ogun¶s revolting power through the carving of ³araba tree´ (ADF, 28), hence, Ogun stands for the god of the artists. This is illustrated through his safety deed to Demoke who was falling from the high of the Oro¶s tree which he was carving. In African traditional society, the ancestors or the dead people occupy a high religious rank albeit there are no longer alive. µDeath¶ which is defined in The Oxford Advance Learner¶s Dictionary as the ³cessation of all life processes´, embodies mythic concerns of the cohabitation between the world of the living and dead people in the African psyche. The Yoruba writer Amos Tutuola deals with the mythic concerns the most through his essays such as The Palm Wine Drinkard. For Tutuola ³old people were saying that the whole people who had died in this world did not go to heaven directly, but they were living in one place somewhere in this world´. The Yoruba spiritual belief about the supernatural being¶s common dwelling with the earthly creatures plays socio political functions. Soyinka¶s uses these mythic figures in his works to examine postcolonial Nigerian issues. The mythic archetypal characters are very recurrent in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI. In the play, Soyinka adopts mortal archetypal protagonist such as dead man and woman who are summoned by the sprit Aroni, the Lame One, to attend the ritual meeting the ³Gathering of the Tribes´. Soyinka depicts the essential presence of The Dead Man and The Dead Woman in the ritual reunion through the voice of Aroni: ³I know who the Dead Ones are. They are the guests of the Human Community who are neighbours to us of the forest. It is their feast, the Gathering of the Tribes.´(ADF,1). Aroni, the storyteller of the feast process, portrays it as the gathering of the different worlds of existence such the living people, the spirits and the unborn. The choice of the dead people as hosts in the µdance of the forests¶, is

not fortuitous. In fact, they are summoned by The Forest Head to plead on the behalf of the living people. The use of death as narrative technique in Soyinka¶s work is also noticed in TI. Likewise in novel, Sekoni, though he has been killed in an accident in the Second Part of the novel, seems to be present in the memory of his friends namely Kola, Bandele, Egbo and the like. The spectral presence of the dead people in the mind of the characters is very meaningful in African Negro literature. In Anything Dead Coming Back to Life Hurts; Circularity in Beloved, Philip Tage accounts for the use of departed people in literary works play narrative functions such as the African fragmented way of telling stories. Beloved, written by the African American Toni Morrison, deal with Sethe¶s traumatic experience meaning the murder of her own daughter Beloved whom she did not want to give back to the slaveholder. As the novel unfolds, she encounters the ghost of Beloved whom wants to wreck havoc on her. For Morrison as for Soyinka it is important for the African American writers to take into account oral tradition which encompass African collective consciousness. In this regard Tage asserts:
The thematic and formal power of Beloved is evident in the patterns of circularity in the novel and in the related issues of revival, storytelling and listening, and overlapping consciousness.

The summoning of dead figures is used in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI as narrative devices to emphasis on African Negro aesthetics. In ³Soyinka¶s Ritual Drama: Unity, Postmodernism, and the Mistake of the Intellect´, William S. Haney II depicts the importance of immortal characters¶ adoption in Soyinka¶s works. In ADF, Soyinka¶s use of the ³two obscure spirits of the restless dead´ is to represent

³the coexistence of opposites such as mortality and immortality´. For William S. Haney, The Dead man and the Dead woman characterize ³the no changing, unmanifest field of pure conscious, which is the source of all historical change because it is a field of infinite dynamism´. Furthermore, the African oral tradition, especially the Yoruba spiritual belief about the supernatural beings cohabitation with the human community is mainly on African psyche and play and important socio-political roles. For the Yoruba, the world of metaphysical beings is not only composed of the dead people but there are also spirits consist of the ghost and good spiritual creatures. They inhabit cosmic areas as the dead people who ³are the one who have died before their

time and so can live with the ageless spirits.´ For Tutuola, the spirits and the ghosts can be defined as the aborted unborn children who can be very harmful for the human community if they do not fulfill social demand such as ritual sacrifice. This spiritual belief is very recurrent in every African traditional society such as the Seerer one. In fact, the Seerer, an ethnic group located in Senegal, ³is conscious that his surroundings are infested with the competition of some harmful factors, a place of any kind of deadly plight´. Soyinka¶s ADF encompasses these alleged harmful creatures used as narrative devices. They are represented through the character Eshuoro, and his jesters whose main objective is to have revenge on Demoke, Ogun¶s servant. The latter, not only he has killed Eshuoro¶s disciple Oremole, but also he dares to carve Eshuoro¶s sacred tree: Oro. On the other hand, there are metaphysical beings which work on the behalf of human being¶s progress and for their self-consciousness rehabilitation. These spiritual beings exorcise the living people who is possessed or the one who is

threatened by wicked spirits. This spiritual antagonism is determined by Amade Faye through these words: ³In the edge of the tenebrous existential universe, there are also good and protector agents who stand in order to counter the malevolent forces.´ In Soyinka¶s ADF, these protector forces are represented Ogun and the Forests Head. As the god defender of the artists, the smiths and carvers in Myth, Literature and the African World, Ogun stands for the guardian of Demoke whom he has been searching in the forests in order to protect him from Eshuoro. On the other hand, there is the Forest Head who has called for the µGathering of the Tribes¶ to help Rola, Demoke and Adenibi in their self-recovery through ritual performance. The three living characters have committed obscenities in their previous life in Mata Kharibu¶s court. For their self-rehabilitation, the Forest Head uses performing arts such masquerade which make the performer be in connection with his inner state of mind. The dialectical confrontation characterized through supernatural conflict in ADF, and the antagonist social classes in TI symbolize postcolonial Nigerian. The analysis of social class conflict is essential for the Marxists, because they think revolution alternative can only be achieved through the resistance of the working class. Besides, the novel¶s and the play¶s characters are one of the human community representatives in Soyinka¶s literary output.

2.2 The Living People
The authentic Negro has always needed to be reconciled with his ancestors through rites of passages. He identifies himself to his deities he worships in the

purpose to justify daily deeds. This part will deal with Soyinka¶s characters as deity models .In this respect, the living people has to experience self-discovery, which is achieved the performance of Yoruba different art forms. The latter used as tragic and dramatic narrative technique, are very recurrent in Soyinka¶s works. In this context, he applies the ³abyss of transition´ as referring to tremendous experience which the protagonists in ADF like the carver Demoke has to encounter for his self realization. ADF is ritual drama in that it combines issues such as the conflict between the values of the old society and the new one and the role the artist in relation to his traditional heritage. Thus for Soyinka, the Yoruba incarnates particular deity¶s power either it is creative or destructive, has to know to better handle them in order to make sense of his life. Demoke, whose power is endowed by the creative god Ogun, is aware of his destructive power and is propelled toward redemption in Soyinka¶s ADF. Therefore, Demoke stands for the hope that the Nigerians were expecting to change Nigerian socio-political hardships.

In TI, Egbo also incarnates Ogun¶s character mainly his darker aspect. His personality is shaped in relation to the god¶s violent nature and his lack of compassion. This is illustrated by the sudden violence which takes holds of him in the nightclub and which ends in a fight against a waiter (TI, 219) and his repulsive behavior towards Joe Golder after Noah¶s death:
As from vileness below human imagining Egbo snatched his hand away, his face distorted with revulsion and a sense of the degrading contamination. He threw himself forward, away even from the back seat, staring into the sagging figure at the back as at some noxious insect, and he felt his entire body crawl in disgust. His hand which had touched Joe

Golder suddenly felt foreign to his body and he got out of the car and wiped it on grass dew. (TI, 236)

In ADF, Demoke represents a µslave¶ of Ogun in so far as the latter is the patron god of the artists. Moreover, Ogun¶ darker and humanitarian aspects is shown through the woodcarver¶s deeds. On the one hand, he commits crime by plucking his apprentice down because he was jealous, on the other hand, he gains salvation because he succeed in saving the Half-Child.(ADF, 77) Furthermore, as for Kola and Sagoe, they are respectively built around Ogun¶s and Esu¶s personalities. As far as Kola is concerned, this is noticeable through his status as a professor of art and his artistic creation that is, the painting of the Yoruba pantheon. In this, he reflects Ogun¶s artistic and creative trend. Concerning Sagoe, he reflects Ogun¶s drinking propensity, for many a time, Soyinka presents to the reader a drunk Sagoe ready to provoke trouble. Likewise, he symbolizes Esu¶s trickster nature. This resemblance is related to the numerous tricks he plays to such people as the Oguazors and Pinkshore. However, Bandele appears as a developing protagonist. His personality and his attitudes towards his friends are no longer the same. In the words of Maduakor, as the novel approaches its end, he takes the religious course over Sekoni and Lazarus. These marks of Bandele are worth the behavior of the supreme God Orisa nla. This is more plausible because supreme deities are required to be the role models, to lead their subordinates on the right track. As Obi Maduakor says Bandele ³is almost a god among men, a Jupiter hurling a verbal hammer of reprimands against those who have offended against the moral law´

As for Bandele¶s characters portrayal, Obaniji in ADF plays the same humanitarian role in so far as he summons Demoke, Rola and Adenibi to be purified through ritual performing. For the critic William S. Haney ³Obaniji is not only the Forest Head; he is also a mortal´ hence ³he synthesis mortality and immortality´. He plays a humanitarian role regarding to the living people as Rola, Demoke and Adenebi who experienced sinful deeds in their past in the court of Mata Kharibu. Next to these characters that are modeled after the Yoruba deities, there is other who symbolizes corruption in TI and ADF in a satirical way. This is the case of the authorities of the newspaper The Independent Viewpoint: Sir Derinola, Chief Winsala, and the Managing Director. This character portrayal will permit to show the political functions of Soyinka¶s use of mythic figures mirrored to the living people. The satirical image of Sir Derinola is visible in Sagoe¶s daydream where he appears totally ³naked except for a pair of Dehinwa¶s brassieres over his chest´ (TI, 64) .The brassieres represent the medals he receives during his decoration by the Queen. According to Jones in The Writing of Wole Soyinka, ³the incongruity of the medals against the nakedness of Sir Derinola is a physical image of his unfitness for the honor that the medals imply´. There is an incompatibility between Derinola status as a judge and his involvement in corruption. As a respectable judge whose job should be to sentence those who have infringed the law, Derinola ³is not above taking petty bribes, hiding behind the more obviously corrupt front of the crooked Chief Winsala´. Winsala¶s bent on the bribery leads him to hold up to ridicule; he gets humiliated by a mere waiter who threatens to beat him for the extra drink he fails

to pay. As if to worsen thing, his ridiculous position reaches its peaks with Jone¶s comments: ³it is in the traditional way that Winsala mirrors his position to himself and implicitly reproves himself for thus exposing himself«´ The Managing Directories is an extravagant man who spends all his time travelling and buying appliances. This aspect of his personality is satirically portrayed through his trip to Germany which is qualified as ³his eleventh round the world mission´ (TI, 75) but also through the purchase of the radiogram. He buys it only because ³it has class´ or to be more accurate because ³it has nine winking lights all differently colored, although no one had yet discovered what they proved.´(T.I, 75) In ADF, satirical portrayal of characters is very recurrent mainly through the subjects of Mata Kharibu¶s court composed of the Soothsayer, an oracle, The Physician, the Slave dealer, the Historian, and the like. The Soothsayer helps Mata Kharibu to know his future projects among which his plane to wage war against another feeble realm. The slave dealer, in the purpose to rent his small boat to Mata Kharibu, corrupts the Historian in order the latter to testify the boat is enough large to contain full passengers. The Historian agreement after taking the bribe is highlighted through these lines:

Historian: That is fact. Mata Kharibu and all his ancestors would be proud to ride in such a boat. (ADF, 61)

The corrupted Historian symbolizes the new elite¶s bad ruling by taking decision without giving priority to the tremendous social condition of his subjects. Postcolonial Nigeria has been the setting of policy mismanagement characterized

through corruption, oppression, victimization, and the like. Consequently, the mass undergoes perilous experiences because they are exploited by the bureaucrats who are symbolized by Mata Kharibu and his ministers. Soyinka, in his works, examines political issues through the revision of historical events. ADF constitutes a relevant case to the politicians¶ economic misconduct in postcolonial Nigeria. Next to the divine and satirical portrayal of Soyinka¶s characters, there are female ones. Black woman has been considered as one of African Negro aesthetics¶ representation. Though one may thing that they do not play important role in African society, Soyinka portrays female characters in a particular way. Usually, their depiction in African novels written by men tends to reinforce male domination. In ³The Awakening of Self in the Heroines of Ousmane Sembene´ Sonia Lee writes that ³the feminine protagonists throughout the African novels present certain homogeneity of character which can be attributed to a basic similarity in the man¶s view of the woman.´ This type of character-portrayal is found in Soyinka¶s plays: The Lion and the Jewel and Death and the King¶s Horseman respectively with women characters like Sidi and the unnamed virgin bride of Elesin who are both victims of male dominated society. In ADF and TI, Soyinka presents another type of female character portrayal aiming at idealizing them. Unlike men who are mostly characterized in relation to their experiences but also to the Yoruba deities, women are portrayed in relation to their physical appearance; they incarnate extraordinary beauty. In TI, we have Simi, Egbo¶s girlfriend whose exceptional beauty reaches a mythical dimension and has also a dangerous effect. This is illustrated by her association with the figure of Mammy Watta, ³the mythological siren who lures men to their death with an alluring beauty´. Always in relation to Simi¶s beauty and its harmful effect, Boyce Davies observes that Soyinka resorts to animal images to highlight it. Simi

is the ³Queen ±Bee (TI, 51) for whom men must dance and play the fool; she is a snake (TI, 53). Even the musicality of her name suggests beauty. Rola is Simi¶s counterpart in ADF, like her, she is characterized by her extraordinary beauty. In the play, the characters such as Demoke, Adenibi and Rola go forth and back from they present life to the past. Rola is a whore who lures men to achieve her futile purposes. She embodied the same fatal nature but under the name of Madame Tortoise, the queen of Mata Kharibu¶s court. As incarnating Rola, two of her suitors killed each other because each of them wanted to be her husband. It is illustrated through Adenebi¶s remark on Rola¶s beauty¶s consequences: ³«Two lovers in the graveyard. And the sordidness of it. The whole horrible scandal. How did I ever get in your company?´(ADF, 22). In TI, black beauty is also expressed through Owolebi, the traditional dancer of the bar where the group of friends has been meeting. The interpreters composed of Sekoni, Kola, Bandele, Dehinwa, and the like have the habit to gather to the bar to share their daily experience. There, they witness the performance of the dancer whose beauty is differently conceived by the interpreters. The depiction of women as the symbol of beauty but also as a femme fatale is present in Soyinka¶s Kongi¶s Harvest with Segi. Oba Danlola¶s words to Daodu are illustrative:
A-ah, you¶ve picked yourself A right cannibal of the female species. Daodu, that woman of yours, she scares The pepper right up the nostrils Of your old man here. She has left victims On her path like sugarcane pulp

Squeezed dry

Soyinka¶s woman characters will help us to deal with repressive power represented by Madame Tortoise and black woman¶s beauty symbolized by Owolebi, the traditional dancer. The analysis of the portrayal characters in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI has displayed the characters as a deity¶s creativity and destructive models. The latter tendency is mainly embodied through characters such as The Historian. The satirical character portrayal will permit to deal with dialectical Marxism between the new elites and the middle class in Soyinka¶s both works. Moreover, the supernatural beings and the human community are therefore very meaningful in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI. The gulf which separates the deities and the living people represented through Soyinka¶s ³abyss of transition´ is expressed through elements of African Negro aesthetics, especially the use of Yoruba ritual artworks as narrative devices.


In African society, these artistic creations uphold religious functions defined as ³religious art´. Tribal art meaning art and craft produced by indigenous natives from tribal societies in Africa is much more sacred than Western art. Black aesthetics, which often refers to traditional art, is composed of different artworks such as visual, poetic and performing arts. African art has very different functions from that of European or Western culture. Because of the hermetic nature of tribal art, the European art theorists consider it as useless and merely primitive. Concerning African aesthetics, individual images are representatives, at times even embodiments of the vital forces believed to exist in all living issue. Often these images speak for the spirits of the dead, thus perpetuating the vital essence of ancestry. Consequently, tribal art symbolize the spirit of a force which is frequently divine and ancestral. In ADF and TI, Soyinka does not limit himself to these transcendental portrayals of characters. He depicts the diverse traditional materials in respect with

their different genres. The latter are mainly composed of visual, poetic, music and performing arts. In the play, the three living people such as Demoke, Rola and Adenebi were reliving their criminal spirits through the performance of masquerade in order to gain salvation. The case of possessed spirits characters in TI can be highlighted through the dancer in the bar where the young intellectuals have to meet each night. Although there is a secular aspect to most of the artwork, they also are purely decorative or ornamental as in the Oguazor¶s house with its artificial flowers (T.I, 198). African tribal art is considered as purely religious art. This latter which is represented through plastic art and performing arts such as woodcarving and masquerade ³embodied the vital forces believed to exist in all living matter´. Sometimes these images represented the spirits of the dead, the vital essence of tribal ancestry. It is occasionally performed through traditional ceremonies. Besides, the visual art such as masks, figurines, musical instrument mainly drums also are among tribal artworks. In African ritual performance, the use of musical instruments as the drum has been very essential because it accompanies traditional enactment. Unfortunately many such artworks have disappeared with the arrival of white explorers. During the colonial period, colonizers bring not only there

political system but also apply their way of living in African. They built infrastructures as modeled to those located in European societies. Many African writers such as Soyinka depict Western buildings such as luxurious domicile as aesthetically meaningless. This aesthetic perspective appears in TI where Sagoe, the journalist, considers the Oguazors¶ comfortable domicile, where a party is organized, as a ³house of death where brains where petrified´ (TI, 148). The Oguazors, a high ranking family, have their house ornamented with ³artificial

apples´ in the occasion of the party which takes place there. Sagoe has a critic view on the role of Western aesthetics in African societies. It is highlighted through he¶s words: ³What on earth does anyone in the country want with plastic fruits´ (TI, 140). Plastic fruits symbolize futile artworks in so far as it do not play religious role as it is case for African Negro aesthetics composed mainly of painting, sculpture, songs, and masquerade. In European exhibition, Africa masks are typically shown emotionally and physically motionless, but their true context is their performance rhythmic with musical tone in dance. This latter enactment is called masquerade which performer is momentarily possessed by a spirit. Soyinka often uses the ³mask motif´ to depict the characters¶ state of mind or mood. When the spirit speaks through the mask dancer, it is as if he became its mouthpiece. This fact is highlighted through Rola, while she is possessed momentarily by past experience which is characterized by her offense through the use of her beauty to harm peoples. A good deal of tribal art such as rites has been transmitted from generation to generation through the use of traditional artworks. Each African society possesses its own emblems and ritual motifs which often symbolize gods a deities such as it is the case of Ogun the god of creativity and destructiveness. The Yoruba tribe in Nigeria is mainly composed of skilful carvers of sacred figurines differently and upholds different social status within their community. As Soyinka emphasizes in Myth, Literature and the African World, Ogun stands for the world of art: craft, song, and artistic creativity. Art is indicative of Ogun¶s presence in ADF and TI. In other words, the presence of Ogun in Soyinka¶s works implies the presence of an artist. The latter can be a blacksmith, a hunter, a poet or a sculptor. In the play, artistic creativity plays a role of fulfillment through

Demoke¶s carving the totem; through Sekoni¶s woodcarving, the Wrestler and Kola¶s panting the Yoruba pantheon. Osofian¶s article helps to highlight the different traditional narrative devices such as dance, dirge songs and masquerades used by Soyinka. However, we opt for a deep analysis of Yoruba traditional visual, music, poetic and performing arts in relation with their religious, communal and committed aims, more detailed by Soyinka in the dramatic work ADF.

2.1 Visual Arts
As it name suggests, visual arts are the whole artworks composed mainly of sculpture and painting. One of the striking illustrations in ADF and TI are Demoke and Sekoni¶s carving and Kola¶s painting the Pantheon of Yoruba deities. Soyinka¶s use of visual arts composed mainly of woodcarving and painting is to express the characters¶ feelings and beliefs which are mythic and political. Plastic arts have different a meaning regarding to the European sculpture and painting. In Myth, Literature, and the African World, Soyinka portrays European artworks as representing individual feeling rather than collective one which is much noticed in African Negro aesthetics. According to Senghor, Cesaire and Soyinka Black aesthetics mainly painting and woodcarving symbolize collective ideology and vision. In Yoruba traditional society, the woodcarver is considered as a priest because their religious belief is represented through mask, statutes and the like. Moreover, the craft of carving has been transmitted through generations from father to son as it is the case for the oral tradition characterized by the griots. The

Yoruba carver upholds an important social rank in so far as his artworks are believed in as the µshrine¶ (totem or deity¶s inhabitation) of one Yoruba given cast. The essential role of the carver is portrayed in Soyinka¶s ADF, through the attendants¶ consideration of the beautiful totem carved by Demoke. In TI, Sekoni whose prior profession is engineer, turn to sculpture to concretize his religious believe of the link between the divine and earthily beings. Besides, Soyinka¶s use of plastic arts suggest affective characteristics of Yoruba beauty defined in Myth, as the ³sublime aesthetic joy´ symbolized mainly by Sekoni¶s woodcarving, ³The Wrestler´. Through the use of visual arts as narrative devices, Soyinka wants to show the socio-political commitment and religious functions of Yoruba traditional arts. On the one hand, visual art is represented, in the play, through Demoke¶s totem which embodies Madame Tortoise¶s vulgarity and obscenities (ADF, 28). On the other hand, Yoruba art forms have to symbolize ³the sublime aesthetic joy´ which is pure expression of the artist¶s sensuality while crossing the ³abyss of transition´. This African sensitivity expressed trough artworks has been echoed by Etienne Soriau as ³the Angel of the Work´ which is one of the Western way of interpreting aesthetics. Quoting again Etienne Soriau, Gilbert Durant considers visual art as symbolically significance in so far as it reflects metaphysical contents. This latter Western vision of art is mainly represented through European artistic trends such as Baroque, Cubism, and the like. By contrast, for the Yoruba poet, the sublime aesthetic joy is a kind of feeling which permits the artist to produce masterpieces. That is why in TI and ADF, this sensation is purely mythic because it is the representation of the link between the worlds of the living, the unborn and the dead. In other words, according to Soyinka, Sekoni¶s sculpture is more

authentic regarding to Kola¶s Pantheon in so far as the latter does not express sensual feeling but is a parallelism of living people and deities¶ resemblances. Which may urge Kola to realize he is not an artist in so far as he does not succeed in fulfilling his sublime aesthetics of joy¶s experience through painting, asserts: ³I¶m not really an artist. I never set out to be one. But I understand the nature of art and so I make an excellent teacher of art´ (TI, 227). The fact of being an authentic traditional artist does not reside through Western technique of art, but is ontologically rooted in African psyche. Visual art also uphold political concerns which deal with postcolonial issues mainly in Soyinka¶s ADF. In the play, which is allegory representing Nigerian post independence, depicts the social class confrontation between the new elites and the working class. For this purpose Soyinka revises African historical context which was mainly linked with the tyrannical ruling of some monarchs characterized through the court of Mata Kharibu. Madame Tortoise, Mata Kharibu wife, who often has secret romantic relation with her subjects as Demoke, the court poet and the Warrior whom she attracts to make them do perilous tasks. She stresses on her power while addressing to the Warrior:
Madame Tortoise: What are you? Men have killed for me. Men have died for me. Have you flints in your eyes? Fool, have you never lived?( ADF, 64)

Demoke¶s woodcarving, the totem symbolizes, on the one hand the unification of the Yoruba cosmogony characterized by the world of the unborn, the living and dead people. On the other hand, the totem expresses submission which her subjects are victim of. Soyinka has succeed in incorporating visual arts mainly

woodcarving as narrative device to hint postcolonial issues such as dialectical confrontation between the privileged social class and the mass. Through the sculpture µThe Wrestler¶, Sekoni liberates the repressed energy which springs from his desire to build infrastructures for his people. This release is the result of disappointment caused by Sekoni¶s boss refusal for Sekoni to fulfill the plant project which would assure the village economic development. The new elites have always neglected the working class; thus, they do no contribute to social change which theme is Soyinka¶s main literary concerns. Plastic art through Kola¶s painting is a means of fulfillment in the sense that it gives meaning to the interpretes¶ life through the introduction of religion. Obi Maduakor states in µInterpreting The Interpreters¶, ³The world of art in Kola¶s canvas points boldly to what is missing in their life, that is, religion, the link between the human and the divine´. This is important in that the interpreters are alienates who are ³facing a new world with all the weight (but little of the benefits) of their traditional past. Artworks such as painting and sculptor are means for the characters to be involved in to their traditional repertory characterized through Yoruba mythology. As visual arts, Soyinka adopts also Oral traditional devices such as poetic and music arts as narrative techniques.

2.2 Poetic and Music Arts
Oral tradition is deeply marked by the poetic and music arts. These latter including ritual songs and its instruments such as drums, flutes, are very symbolic in African Negro aesthetics. African discourse has been always entrenched with poetic characteristics either it is epic, elegy or lyrical. These diverse poetic forms

encompass moral teaching for the natives in their daily socio-political activities. In The New Negro, Alain Locke relates this African sensitive state to the fact that ³the Negro is a poet by essence´, hence Soyinka recourses a lot to poetry in his literary works. Soyinka¶s poetic language is testified in TI through the language through which Sekoni¶s dreams are narrated which goes beyond reality to reach fantasy. In the novel, the narrator describes Sekoni¶s genius through the use of evocative images characterized mainly by his µpalms¶ which symbolized the source of his power. It is highlighted through these lines:
And he [Sekoni] closed his palms again, cradling the surge of power[«] So he opened his palm to the jungle of power from the charging prisoner, shaft of power nudge the monolith along the fissures, little grasps of organic ecstasy and paths were opened « (TI, 26)

Through this poetic depiction, Soyinka shows Sekoni¶s creative skill to construct electrical devices for the villagers of Ijioha. Unfortunately, Sekoni¶s authorities disdain his competence in so far as the boss cancels the engineer¶s project because he considers that Western experts are more qualified to realize that kind of work. The Yoruba writer recourses to the poetic form called dream allegory. The latter is determined in A Handbook of Literary Terms as ³a type of poem in which a character falls asleep and dreams what is told in the poem.´ Equally, poetry is also present in Egbo¶s poetic utterances. The manifestation of Soyinka¶s use of poetic language is characterized through Egbo¶s depiction of his romantic encounter with Simi.

He describes his sexual experience through these words: ³I am that filled back in a stiff breeze riding high grass on Warri airfield when it lays fallow´ (TI, 60); and the narrator¶s own comment of the event: ³«And as a pod strode the baobab on the tapering thigh, leaf shorn, and high mists swirl him, haze splitting storms, but the stalk stayed him´ (T.I, 60). In the novel, although poetic utterances simulate the state of possession mentioned by Maduakor, they testify to Soyinka¶s poetic language which is full of African aesthetic symbols. This may not be surprising in that before being novelist, he is first of all a poet. He is the author of a large amount of poems. Soyinka¶s poetic status contributes to obscuring his language which is one of African language¶s characteristics. This is noticeable in the language which characterizes Egbo¶s sexual relation with Simi. In the word of Osundare, the only word that really specifies the act is µthigh¶ and for him, the reader must make efforts to find out the remaining elements. In this respect, as he still argues ³a lone pod may be referring to the penis, while the baobab«leaf shone stands for Simi¶s naked body.´ In Osundare¶s thinking, ³Such impenetrable indirectness may be tolerable in a book of poems; in prose, it is unnecessarily tough and forbidding.´ Besides, Sagoe¶s philosophy of voidancy is full of sensitive images. Sagoe, a journalist working in The Independent Viewpoint, writes a book which tackles with his vision of life called µthe philosophy of Voidancy¶. In discussion with his friend Mathias, the Messenger of the office, Sagoe defines voidancy as ³the last uncharted mine of creative energies, in its paradox lays the kernel of creative liturgy«´ (TI, 71) In other words, Sagoe considers his philosophy as artistic source of inspiration which is mainly spiritual. But Mathias seems not to grasp the meaning of Sagoe¶s poetic ideology which he is the only to understand the significance. According to the journalist, this existential thesis is more than

³functional, spiritual, creative or ritualistic, [«]remains the one true philosophy of the true Egoist´(T.I, 71). Thus, one may compare Sagoe¶s theory to surrealist poetry used by the surrealist poets such as Andre Breton to express oppression on subjugated the weak European nations during the Second World War. Also, Sagoe hermetic philosophy may hint to Soyinka¶s obscure idiosyncrasy which has been very criticized by some writers such as Chinwezu. Soyinka¶s obscure style is comparable to African Negro Aesthetics which have been a longtime considered by the Western scholars as difficult to study because of its specific framework. Music arts in Soyinka¶s novel are mainly represented through Joe Golder¶s songs and the band µapala¶ which perform every night in the bar where the group of young intellectuals used to frequent. Concerning Joe Golder, he is an Africa American musician who returns to Nigerian in order to follow his career. He performs Black American folklore characterized by the Negro spiritual which is a kind of liturgical song that was song by the Black slaves in the plantation of America. Joe Golder practices in preparation by using Kola¶s piano. Kola is a painter who takes his friend Joe Golder as a model of Yoruba deities represented in the painter¶s work of art. Instead of posing normally for Kola, he takes ³the vacated piano stool and began to pick out the tune of the Negro spiritual´ (T.I, 103). Soyinka employs African American songs symbolized by the Negro spiritual to show the parallelism between Black American and African aesthetics since the latter stem from to the former. African Negro aesthetics comes mainly from the slaves¶ oral tradition symbolized by songs which they sang to relieve themselves after hardworking days in the plantations in the Southern America. African Negro aesthetics imply not only to the Africans but also to the African American, the Caribbean and the Diaspora.

In Soyinka¶s ADF, traditional poetry is very recurrent and is mainly characterized through different poetic genres such as proverb and dirge. Proverb, a ³short well-known saying that states a general truth or gives advices´, plays an important role in African Negro aesthetics. It permits to conserve African moralities and values which are taught generations through generations by the ancestors to the young people. In ADF, the characters such as The Old Man and Agboreko, who represent the ancestors, generally comment on or give advice to the decisions that the living people have to take about the process of the gathering of the tribes. Besides, African proverb is characterized by its eloquence that is the art to speak well which is very relevant to African Negro aesthetics. In the play, Murete, a tree demon, describes Agboreko¶s use of proverbs as being ³full of colour´ (ADF, 9) in contrast to his own language which is coarse. It is highlighted through Aroni¶s reproach to Murete for his vulgarity:
Aroni: Yes, I can see where the colour has run and left ugly patches on you. Be quiet! You are unreliable Murete. You too meant to leave today. Don¶t lie. (ADF, 9)

Murete, which represents natural element, considers that his ³home [the forest] looks dead´ because the tree¶ ³leaves have served someone [the living people] for a feast´ (ADF, 9). That is why he does not want to attend the ritual gathering which is organized by the Forest Head for the living people. Besides, African proverb is often endowed with repetition which plays the role of insistence on the message that the proverb conveyed. Contrary to the view of the unnecessary characteristic of repetition, Soyinka¶s characters such as Agboreko the expression ³Proverbs to bones and silence´ at the end of each of his utterances. It is illustrated through these lines:

Until the last gourd has been broken, let us not talk of drought. Proverbs to bones and silence. [Beaters¶ noises audible again]. (ADF, 38)

In this case, Soyinka uses proverb to express the value of patience through the example of the Old Man who do not want wait too long for knowing the fourth individual who is with his son Demoke, Rola and Adenebi. The Old Man fears for the fourth person may be Eshuoro who searches Demoke in order to punish him because of the carver has killed Oremole, Eshuoro¶s servant. Regarding to the poetic genre called elegy, it is present in the ADF and plays specific function. In Africa traditional society, the dirge man who performs the funeral ceremonies uses poetic utterance to convey grievance. They enhance the pain of the relatives¶ deceased person. They share the family¶s pain by mourning in a poetic way along with the attendants of funeral ceremony. Soyinka adopts this social issue in his works to acknowledge its religious significance which is very rooted in Yoruba traditional belief. This can be highlighted through the character the Dirge Man who the priest is leading the dance in the occasion of the Gathering of the Tribes. Dirge can be defined as ³a poem of lament, like the elegy, but shorter and often meant to be song.´ Soyinka often employs elegiac utterance in his works as in the play with the dirge man. His utterance is conveyed in a poetic mood as it is illustrated through these lines: ³Move on eyah. Move apart I felt the wind breathe- no more Keep

away now. Leave the dead /Some room to dance´ (ADF, 39). The presence of the Dead Man and Dead Woman in the ritual ceremonies is not good news for the living people because the dead couple is summoned to give testimony of human beings¶ destructive bent. The dirge man makes know to the

attendant of the ritual meeting human beings¶ misdeeds which the dead man and the dead woman are going to uncover. It is illustrated through these lines:
If you see the banana leaf Freshly fibrous like a woman¶s breasts If you see the banana leaf Shred itself, thread on thread Hang wet as the crepe of grief Don¶t say it¶s the wind. Leave the dead Some room to dance. (ADF, 39)

The image of µbanana leaf¶ refers to atrocious experience that the dead couple has experienced in the Court of Mata Kharibu. The dead man who is in fact the warrior of the king and the dead woman his wife undergo, in Mata Kharibu¶s realm, mistreatments because the warrior refused to lead the army for an unjustified war which is ordered by Mata Kharibu. The dead couple¶s shattered experience even though it is ³thread on thread´ meaning linked up with their different parts to be uncovered to the attendants of the ritual meeting, still ³hang wet as the crepe of grief´. In other words, past anguish still remains in the mind of living people even though it would be a difficult experience to bear it secretly. The dirge man¶s message conveys pessimistic perspective of human condition which is represented through yearn for violence symbolized by war, oppression, subjugation which have mainly taken place in Africa. Soyinka, through the symbolic utterance of the dirge man, expresses pessimistic vision of the unchanging human condition. Poetic language is not only found in Soyinka¶s prose; it is also present in his play ADF. Soyinka¶s use of poetic represented through Agboreko¶s proverbs is originated from Yoruba traditional poetry. Alain Ricard maintains in Theatre et

nationalisme that this kind of poetry concerns ³several poems applied to all the circumstances of life´. Quoting Ulli Beier, Ricard adds that ³The distinctive

characteristics of this type of poetry are humor, images, and the philosophy of the Yoruba´. Africa Negro aesthetic components such as language are entails with figures of speech which are very suggestive to mythic and political issues. African language has been entrenched with poetry and is uttered in every occasion of the native socio political activity. For instance, in the plantation field, peasants in their field, sing to rhythm and spur themselves in their works. Soyinka chooses to adopt this topical experience in his works to better convey themes dealing with Postcolonial Nigeria. Poetic and music arts used as narrative devices by Soyinka embody also Yoruba mythic beliefs such as the tragedy of the god Ogun and are specified through these words: ³Tragic music is an echo from that void; the celebrant speaks, sings, and dances in authentic archetypal images from within the abyss.´ ADF constitutes an example of Soyinka¶s aforementioned quotation. In fact, the µcelebrant¶ refers to the dirge man who welcomes the Dead couple with the accompaniment of µmusic¶ represented through the drum and flute¶s rhythm. Music arts characterized through songs, drums, flutes, are traditional tools which allowed enhancing ritual ceremonies enactment. Soyinka¶s literary works encompass African negro aesthetic aspects which he succeeds in using it as narrative techniques. Visual and poetic arts are very recurrent in ADF and TI, and their mixture refers to performing arts.

2.3 Performing Arts

They can be defined as the merging performance of visual and poetic arts. Dance, described as a waving sculpture in African culture can be classified in this range of performing traditional art forms. In ADF, Soyinka adopts Yoruba masquerade called ³elegungun´ as narrative device through ³mask ±motif´ of the three mortals such as Demoke, Rola, and Adenebi ³passivity state of mind´ while they are reliving their past crimes (ADF, 63). Mask, defined as ³artificial covering for the face or head used as a disguise or protection´, is especially important in ritual drama such as masquerade. Soyinka¶s use of mask in ADF and TI refers to an action or manner of an individual which the reflection of his state of mind either he/she is happy, sad, active or passive. In other words, Soyinka application of the mask reflects human condition which is complex in so far as it is endowed with conflicting relationship between individuals characterized by war, racial discrimination, genocide, subjugation, and the like. In the Directing Stage of ADF:
Soft rhythmic drumming accompanies Forest Head¶s last instruction. The Interpreter moves and masks the three protagonists [Adenebi, Demoke and Rola]. The mask-motif is as their state of mind- resigned passivity. (ADF, 73),

Soyinka depicts a scene of masquerade as it is performed in the ritual ceremonies of some African societies. In such ritual performance, there is the presence of traditional instruments such as drums, of a priests who are symbolized by the Forest Head and The Interpreters, and the masqueraders represented by Demoke, Adenebi and Rola who wear masks characterized in the play by the µmask-motif¶. Drum is essential because it accompanies the ritual performance and directs the tune of songs.

On the other hand, the Forest Head who summons Rola, Demoke and Adenebi for their self-discovery is the leader of the ritual process. He can be compared to Oludumare, the supreme Yoruba deity, who brood over the other gods and the living people. Furthermore, Soyinka¶s use the mask motif refers to the state of mind of Demoke, Adenebi and Rola which is portrayed as µresigned passivity¶. This means that while the three protagonists perform masquerade, cannot no longer control their acts because they are possessed. Here, they are not possessed by spirits but by their past crimes which they relive. In their past experiences, Demoke killed his apprentice Oremole, Rola¶s two suitors two killed one another because of jealousy, while Adenebi is responsible for the accident of the lorry, µthe Chimney of Ereko¶. It is emphasized through Obaneji¶s statement:
When it [the Chimney of Ereko] was built, someone looked at it, and decided that it would only take forty men [«] One of your office workers took a bribe. A real substantial bribe. And he changed the capacity to seventy (ADF, 16),

This passage justifies the negligence of the office, which is ruled by Adenebi, to take a bribe and let the car surpass the required number of passengers that it has to take. As a result, the car, which is overloaded with passengers, crashes and catches fire. Obaniji insists on the gravity of the accident through these words: ³Of the seventy people in it, five escape´ (ADF, 17). In the process of the self-discovery, the three protagonists relive their crimes passively because of the masks motif they wear. They accept what they have done without responding actively. Soyinka adapts African Negro aesthetics¶ devices such as masquerade to, on the one hand, portrays his characters¶ state of mind which is characterized by their trauma caused by their past crimes. On the other

hand, the Yoruba writer uses masquerade as anaphoric references manly flashbacks. In fact, once Demoke, Rola and Adenebi wear the masks relive their past deeds as if there were a shift between the present and the past. Moreover, according to the conventional structure of dramatic art, there is a scene in the play called a µrecognition scene¶ which function is to make the ³character discovers some important information which changes the course of events for him or her.´ This case is very relevant with the self discovery of Soyinka¶s characters as Demoke, Rola and Adenebi who have to relive their obscene deeds in Mata Kharibu¶s court through the use of analepses. Soyinka applies ritual material such as the mask, which is often worn by the elegungun performer, in his play Soyinka integrates it to deal with socio-political issues. Besides, the enactment of the elegungun is always marked by the poetic use of language which helps to enhance Yoruba ritual performance. The ritual aspect of performing arts is mainly materialized through masquerade which is the final stage in ceremonies as initiation, birth naming, wedding, and funerals. Even, the title of the play ADF may hint to the ritual connotation that is often entailed with Yoruba¶s every day activities. The functions of performing arts as dance upholds metaphysical concerns in so far as it is a ³movement of transition; it is used in the The Road as a visual suspension of death.´ For the Yoruba, poetry and musical instruments such as drums, flutes, are used as complementary traditional tools of dancing which convey metaphysical purposes. Dancing allows the spirit of the dead people to transcend to heaven peacefully. In Death and the King¶s Horseman, Elesin, the king¶s chief of army, has to commit ritual suicide in order to facilitate the king¶s soul transition through

the cosmic area. The ritual suicide is followed with musical and poetic enactment without it the ceremonies could not process. In connection to Soyinka¶s use of performing art, there is the impact of language while the masquerader enacts. In ³Interpreting The Interpreters´, Maduakor declares that:
In Yoruba society the oral performer or the actor on the stage is a man possessed, who vey often surrenders his personality to the external forces whose mouthpiece he has become.

Once on the stage, man is no longer himself; his language is not perceived by humans. In this regard, Maduakor specifies:
In a possessed utterance, as Soyinka has noted, language is highly charged, symbolic, mytho embryonic and words are taken back to their original poetic sources when fusion was total and the movement of words is the very passage of music and the tense of images.

However, the use of Soyinka¶s performing arts dance is present in TI. It is illustrated through the dancer in the night club who is ³Owolebi of the squelching orange´ (TI, 122). In the novel, Soyinka depicts the dancer Owolebi through the interpreters¶ eyes who have different point of view about her performance. In fact, for Egbo and Sagoe, the dancer with her fat seize, do not embody black beauty which idea Sekoni does not agree with. For him, African beauty has not to be judged according to the European standard of interpretation. According to the European aesthetics, prettiness is valued through exactness of the artwork¶s features. African traditional dancing, especially the Yoruba one, encompass aesthetic functions such as the expression of Black women¶ beauty. For the African, Black woman¶s beauty is symbolized by her dancing gestures in the

occasion of ritual ceremonies. Owolebi, even if depicted as a fat woman, succeed in being in harmony with the music performed by the µapala band¶. However, Sekoni has been making a drawing of the dancing woman and distorting her features in the process, giving her a goiter among other thing. Through this transformation of the woman features in his drawing, he shows that African woman is beautiful not because of her gracious form but for the transcended aspect that she conveys (TI, 22). With regard to this criticism, what Soyinka is doing with the mystical figure of Ogun is a paramyth. In other words, he uses the Ogun myth many a time through different Yoruba art works to the detriment of the other myths which constitute Yoruba mythology. Okpewho¶s reproach is partly true. Most of Soyinka¶s works, poems, plays, and novels advert to the Yoruba deity. Among these literary productions, we can mention Season of Anomy where Ogun¶s challenging spirit and his status as the god of Iron are referred to. This highlighted in Soyinka¶s Season of Anomy where the character Ofeyi and the people of Aiyero ³grant Ogun pride of place´ thanks to the good reputation of their smithy. In his journey to the transitional abyss, Ogun has succeeded in crossing the perilous space with the help of his craft of Iron power handling. Apart from Season of Anomy; are such plays as The Road, and his poem Indare where the character of Ogun is central through ritual art. However,

Okpewho¶s position is to be relativized in view of works like TI. In this novel, Soyinka displays Yoruba mythology conception of world creation to the Yoruba pantheon, as shown at the outset of Chapter Fifteen and through Kola¶s painting. African Negro aesthetics composed mainly of visual arts such as painting and sculpture; poetic dirge and music arts, and performing arts including

masquerade and dance and they upholds diverse functions. It conveys moral teachings such as the virtue of patience through the use of proverbs as it is symbolized by the character Agboreko¶s utterance. Kola¶s panting express the need for the Yoruba to take reference of their deities¶ creative bent in order to change postcolonial Nigerian¶s tremendous social conditions. Sculpture, through Sekoni¶s µWrestler¶, expresses African¶s feeling which is mainly influenced by his beliefs in metaphysical forces embodied by mythology. African Negro aesthetics is perceived in its whole body that is, its artistic components include many art forms which have been disseminated throughout the world due to immigration. So there is need to reassemble the different forms of art into one entity to have an effective interpretation of it. This idea is present in Soyinka¶s TI where he portrays Kola¶s artistic initiative. In fact, the painter suggests to the musician Joe Golder to organize an exhibition of paintings and µthe Wrestler¶, Sekoni¶s sculpture, which is going to be accompanied with Joe Golder¶s concert. It is illustrated through Kola¶s words: ³If possible I will time the exhibition for you concert. We could even hold it in the Theater Foyer´ (TI, 218). In fact, ³Joe Golder was overjoyed with the idea´ (TI, 218) because it would at last buy the µWrestler¶ Sekoni¶s woodcarving which he admires a lot. The attempt to gather the different art forms by Kola and Joe Golder shows that the different artworks have to share the same scene since they constitute mutual complementary aesthetic devices. The essential role of traditional art is to reflect Soyinka¶s characters¶

tremendous journeys as it is underscored by Haney through this words: ³As Soyinka sees it, when the protagonist of drama enters the gulf and transcends conflict to experience the fourth stage, this experience is not a subjective fantasy but a mimetic rite that incorporates poetry and dance´However, these traditional

artworks used by Soyinka as narrative devices embody thematic and symbolic aspect related to Nigerian socio-political realities.


This part will be dedicated to the evaluation of the main themes developed in Soyinka¶s literary production which is entrenched in Yoruba mythology and ritual drama. Soyinka¶s thematic perspective is mainly centered on individual or rather collective socio political experiences in Postcolonial Nigerian. In Writing Across Cultures, Gender Politics and Difference in the Fiction of Buchi Emetcha, Omar Sougou determines the term µthe postcolonial¶ as standing for the dominated countries which were politically and economically subjugated by the hegemonic Western empires. He goes further in his arguments by giving detailed information about postcolonial characteristics through these words:
The concept of µthe postcolonial¶ refers to the formely colonized Third and Fourth Worlds, which have gained relative independence from the empire though they are still dependent economically and culturally in some ways

To better grasp Soyinka¶s use of Africa aesthetics as committed to the Postcolonial Nigeria, one may has first to acknowledge Nigerian historical background. Like all other African countries, Nigeria was occupied by the white colonizers who first came as missionaries with the aim to convert the local populations, before settling there and imposing their rule. There was an indirect

rule in Nigeria. In other word, it was not white colonizers who ruled, but some natives who received order from British colonizers. After many years under British imperialism rule, it achieved its independence which became a republic with four regional governments, in which the ruling party, largely Northerners, dominated the new nation. A crisis occurred n 1964 when electoral boycott took place during the first general election. This situation led to some disorders in 1965, after the ruling political party rigged elections in the Western (Igbo) region. In January 1966, a coup led by the army officers belonging to the Igbo ethnic group overthrow the civil government and murdered the prime ministers and the primers of the Western and Northern regions. A military government led by Major General Johnson On May 30, Ojukwu proclaimed the secession of the Eastern region and the formulation of the Republic of Biafra. Soon, fighting broke out between the federal and the Biafran forces. Although the Biafran forces backed up by many writers at first did well, by early October the federal forces had captured Enugu their capital. Despite attempts by the Organization of African Unity to end the civil war, but it continued until 1970 at which point the federal forces had starved the Biafran populations into submission. Ojukwu fled the country on January 1fst, and a delegation to Lagos formally surrendered on January 1st, 1970, thus ending the existence of the Republic of Biafran. Soyinka experiences the Nigerian civil war during which he was imprisoned. The civil war was mainly provoked by the decision of the state of Biafra to secede from Nigeria in April of the same year. The military regime of Gowon had set up a hegemonic policy. This type of military domination which has always clung to Nigerian regimes is described in these lines by Jibrin Ibrahim:

The military have ruled Nigeria for 25 out of the 34 years when the country has existed as an independent entity with an enormous impact on the country¶s culture and institutions«military rules ultimately impacts negatively on society by generalizing its authoritarian values which are in essence antisocial and destructive of politics. Politics in this sense understood the art of negotiating conflicts related to the exercise of power.

The death-toll of the Nigerian civil war was high; this situation impels Soyinka to be involved in it through his literary works. He is very sensitive to human freedom as he confesses in an interview quoted by Jones: ³I believe there is no reason why human beings should not enjoy maximum freedom. To detract from the maximum freedom socially possible, to me, is treacherous. I do not believe in dictatorship benevolent or malevolent.´ Consequently, Soyinka undertook actions meant to end the war, as he underlines it in The Man Died. However, his efforts led to his imprisonment for the military regime charged him with backing the rebels. His antagonist position to civil war can be symbolized by the character the Warrior in ADF. The commander in chief of Mata Kharibu¶s army refuses to wage war without valid grounds as the king has wanted him to do. This historical context of postcolonial Nigerian is used by Soyinka to rise issues related to the injustice that Nigerians were undergoing. As we can see, by the time Soyinka wrote ADF and TI, Nigerian was experiencing a serious transitional power from the colonizers to the new elites. A few days after the publication of the play, independence was celebrated in the country. After many years of political ruling, the multiple military coups led to the occupation of Nigeria by some soldiers. The latter seemed to be worse than the civilians because they brought dictatorship and tyranny in postcolonial Nigeria.

There was corruption, poverty and conflicts in modern Nigeria. ADF and TI depict this precarious socio political condition through the use of traditional aesthetics as narrative techniques. The novel was written soon after Nigerian got its independence. It portrays the corruption prevailing in the country after the colonial era. Narrativelly, it is considered a difficult and complex work especially of its disjointed narration. It contains some aspects of Yoruba culture with the presence in the novel of features belonging to Yoruba mythology. ADF was produced on the eve of Nigerian Independence in 1960. Soyinka¶s image of the ³Gathering of the tribes´ represents the celebration of independence in a pessimistic mood symbolized by the dead couple¶s anxiety o human beings¶ destructive bent. The Yoruba writer uses African aesthetics composed mainly of tribal art to denounce the lethargy of African leaders who the most exploit the mass. In TI, the young intellectuals who consider themselves as belonging to the middle class choose to depart from the ignorant working class in order to better have an affective interpretation of Nigerian precarious society. However, they are victim of the new elite¶s corrupted policy which is characterized through Sekoni¶s Boss. Soyinka is not the only African writer who deals with this post independence problem. Other African writers also have approached postcolonial trouble through oral tradition items. It is the case of Ngugi Wa Thiong¶o, a Kenyan writer who dealt with the matter in most of his novels such as Devil on the Cross. Like him, Ngugi depicts in this novel the hard trouble lived by his people transmitted through African aesthetics such as proverbs, storytelling, mythology and the like. Soyinka¶s way of approaching postcolonial thematic is different from the socialist writers such as Ngugi Wa Thiong¶o, Alex La Guma, hence the critic Steward Crehan asserts:

Soyinka has two main literary modes: the tragic and the satiric. His tragic drama and fiction, far from hypostatizing the ³uncorrupted individual´, present us with a dialect in which self-realization can only be attained through the experience of disintegration, a journey into and through the ³no man¶s land of transition´, involving the ³annihilation´ or ³distortion´ of self.

Hence, ADF and TI are adopted as the ³no man¶s land of transition´ which the protagonists have to cross so that they may change their socio-political condition. The theme of revolutionary alternative is differently dealt with in African literature. African writers can be divided into two categories regarding to their narrative technique choice. Firstly, there are writers who are labeled as radical traditional ones because they suggest drastic alternative perspective in order to overthrow the alleged corrupted government which is composed of the new elites. Secondly, we can notice the moderate traditional writers, among which we can mention Wole Soyinka. Soyinka¶s two postcolonial literary works show the deep impact that Yoruba culture still has on the modernized Yoruba after their contact with the colonizers. Soyinka, like Senghor and Cesaire, is a defender of African Negro aesthetics in general. The Yoruba culture he is dealing with in about all his novels and plays just serves as a particular means to depict this general African culture¶ He can be said to be a modern storyteller, for he takes his inspiration from his Yoruba oral tradition. He helps us to have a clear understanding of the power of African moral values that continue to have great influence of the behavior of the decolonized Yoruba. It is then useful to emphasize on the importance of the oral tradition because we can see through it the whole African culture. According to him, the main task

of the African writer is to know the very importance of the African past in relation to other issues such as colonialism, and the like. Although Soyinka is very much attractive to his African culture, he nevertheless does not idealize it. He depicts Yoruba or African aesthetics while denouncing at the same time their historical and postcolonial problems. Depictions of some aspects of Yoruba cultures are very recurrent in ADF and TI which are considered as cultural and political literary outputs. In the purpose to better cover thematic aspect, we are going first to analyze Dialectical Marxism characteristics in ADF and TI.

3.1 Critical Realism
Critical Realism in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI is characterized through Dialectical Marxism and Yoruba aesthetic morality. As underlined in The Columbia Encyclopedia, dialectical Marxism, known also as dialectical materialism, is:
A theory which basic tenets are that everything which material and change takes places through the ³struggle of opposition´« Central to historical materialism is the belief that change takes place through the meeting of the two opposite forces (thesis and antithesis).

Soyinka adopts Marx¶s literary theory in his works to examine the opposition between the high and working class. In TI, the writer deals with social class confrontation between the well-off symbolized mainly by the Oguazors and the Pinkshores who belong to the high class and the working class represented mainly by group of young intellectuals such as Bandele, Sekoni, Sagoe, and the like. Whereas in ADF, it is characterized through conflicting relationship between

the tyrannical king Mata Kharibu and his wife Madame Tortoise who subjugate their servants such as the Warrior and his soldiers without any accurate grounds. Soyinka has a particular adoption of dialectical Marxism in ADF and TI. In fact, in Soyinka¶s work dialectical materialism is ³«less dialectical, more destructive in its contempt for those elites and institutions to which the committed artist finds himself naturally opposed.´ Soyinka represents postcolonial Nigeria through the image of the transitional abyss which is crossed difficultly because of its complex setting represented through the µabyss of transition¶. Soyinka uses this mythic image to symbolize postcolonial Nigeria which is marked by policy mismanagement. Among the range of issues raised by the critical works on Soyinka, there is one that grasps our attention. Indeed, Abdulrazak Gurnah has published extensively on Wole Soyinka¶s works. He deals with ³The Fiction of Wole Soyinka´, particularly that of TI. In this paper, Gurnah analyses Soyinka¶s use of satire and tragedy through the situation and role of the friends who interpret the Nigerian society. The critic Gurnah brings the reader within the postcolonial literary setting which is marked by class struggle. His analysis has the advantage of focusing the role of traditional artist regarding to Nigerian corrupted system; if he will side with the grabber new elites or with oppressed masses. In TI, this can be illustrated through these words of the character Sagoe addressed to his friends Kola and Bandele:
The man says to me, you young men are always criticizing. You only criticize destructively, why don¶t you put some concrete proposal, some scheme for improving the country in any way, and then you will see whether we take it up or not. (TI, 238)

In ³Sprit of Negation in the Works of Soyinka´, Steward Crehan depicts Soyinka¶s novels and plays¶ setting as modeled to the abyss of transition by quoting Van Genep: ³The whole of the society, in this case Nigerian society, now become the no man¶s land of transition: Van Genep¶s µrooms¶ become passages and passages becomes rooms.´ Soyinka¶s characters evolve in a perilous area as it is the case for Ogun while crossing the gulf. In fact, he encounters harmful spirits which were trying to abort his journey which purpose is to link the divine figures and their worshipers. Soyinka¶s characters have to face to socio-political problems symbolized by alienation and corruption in ADF and TI. Taking into account the unchanged nature of human condition characterized through the dead couple¶s pessimistic consideration on the mortals¶ behavior in ADF and the cancellation of Sekoni¶s project by his Boss in TI; one may assert that Soyinka¶s works does not idealized Nigerian social realities. However, according to Crehan the ³spirit of negation in Soyinka¶s works is not nearly a negative outlook´. It urges the African to be aware of their social condition entail with exploitation and corruption. Actually, instead of trying to trigger of socio-economic development for African nation, the new elites take benefit from the country¶s welfare. Consequently, there is a division of the social pattern into the ruling class and the victims who are mainly composed of the working class. Nevertheless, Black intellectual from the middle class is, more or less, the suitable individual who would find solutions by making the masses aware of their precarious social situation.

In TI, Soyinka¶s satirical portrayal is the chairman of Sekoni¶s board (TI, 27). Hence, Sekoni¶s dream, the settlement of the station power in the village of Ijioha, ends in frustration because of the cancellation of the project. Besides, Sagoe¶s attempt to publicize the story meets the same fate; obstructed by the corrupt establishment (TI, 96). Working as a journalist in the Independent Viewpoint, Sagoe wanted to acknowledge the reason why Sekoni¶s engine had been canceled without any valid grounds. As for ADF, Soyinka adopts dialectical materialism in the historic perspective. Widely known, African remote emperies such as Songhai, Mali have been loosely praised through the traditional epic poems transmitted through generations by griots. In the play, African heritage is represented through the gathering of the tribes which draw together the world of the living and dead people, and the unborn. Adenebi describes the gathering of the tribes as the celebration of African past glory. It is highlighted through his words:
Adenebi: The accumulated heritage- that is what we are celebrating. Mali. Chaka. Songhai. Glory. Empires. [«](ADF, 8)

According to Adenebi, one may not forget historical figures as Chaka Zulu, the famous South African warrior, and great empires such as Mali and Songhai which played socio-economic roles centuries ago in Africa. However, according to some African scholars those empires had been entrenched with destructive enterprises as wars, tyranny, slavery and so forth. In In Griot Time, An American Guitarist in Mali, the remote social system, which is considered by Eyre Banning, a traditional guitarist as ³a virtual social, political, and cultural charter of society´ is somehow reexamined through Soyinka¶s works.

ADF is the about the depiction of Mata Kharibu¶s court as the embodiment of the negative image of the African empires before the arrival of the colonizers. In the play, dialectical Marxism, the confrontation between social classes, is symbolized through the altercation between the monarchy symbolized by the King Mata Kharibu and Madame Tortoise with their servants characterized through the Warrior and the court poet. Mata Kharibu is disappointed regarding to the

Warrior, the chief of the army, who refuses to go war against another empire. The king fears for the soldier¶s refusal in so far he thinks that the latter wants to overthrow him. The tyrannical king thinks that the warrior may be mad that is why he dares to disobey him. It is illustrated through these lines: ³Why should my slave, my subject, my mere human property say, unless he is mad, I shall not fight this war´ (ADF, 60). Regarding to the capricious Madame Tortoise, she makes her servants to run useless errands in the purpose to do them wrong. The court poet, who is conscious of the woman¶s tricks, makes her remark that ³if not a soldier fall to his death from the roof two days ago [«]?´(ADF, 53). As a means of justification to her crime, Madame Tortoise asserts:
Madame Tortoise: I heard a disturbance, and I called the guard to find the cause. I thought it came from the roof and I directed him there. He was too eager and he fell (ADF, 53).

This destructive bent on the subjects by The king and the queen is justified through the quest of power which purpose has been the quest for many African leaders. It is highlighted through the Soothsayer¶s words: ³It is in the nature of men to seek power over the lives of others, and there is always something lower than a servant´ (ADF, 61).

This line relates The Soothsayer¶s wise warning to the tyrannical Mata Kharibu. The Soothsayer knows that Mata Kharibu¶s ruling is arbitrary but he could not denounce the King¶s unfair judgments for fear to be brutalized. Social class confrontation implication is dealt with in Soyinka¶s works in consideration with the postcolonial Nigerian society in the 1960s. For some Marxists such as Lupasco, divergence between the oppressors and the oppressed is necessary because it triggers of revolutionary wave which would alternate established dictatorship ruling implemented by the new elites in African societies. Quoting Lupasco, Gilbert Durant shows the need for the clash of contradictions as significant through these words: ³« the real dialect, according to Lupasco¶s saying, is not an appeased synthesis, it is an actual tension of the contradictions.´ Soyinka applied Marxist theory of the social class dialect to revise fragmented postcolonial Nigerian composed mainly of oppressors such as the new elites and the oppressed meaning the working class. Another theme developed in the play is the role of the intellectuals or the artists face to injustice triggered of by the new elite. In fact, in Postcolonial Nigeria, education was considered as a means to counter colonial discourse embodied through corruption, oppression, and the like. However, some African intellectuals, instead of being the symbol of revolutionary alternative, opt to encourage corrupted political system. It is highlighted through the corrupted Court Physician. While defending the Warrior who is ordered to wage to Mata Kharibu¶s enemies without any relevant justification, the court physician try to convince the warrior to follow the King¶s ordinance. It is shown through these lines depicting the conflict between Mata Kharibu and the Warrior:
Physician: Was ever a man so bent on his own destruction«

Warrior: Mata Kharibu is leader, not merely of soldiers but of men Let him turn the unnatural pattern of men always eating up one another (A Dance, 55-56).

In the purpose of dealing with social change issues, Soyinka revises inglorious historical events. The reexamination of the past in Soyinka¶s ADF shows pessimistic perspective about human being¶s self consciousness. This is underscored through S. Haney¶s words:
By reliving their previous incidents of their present crimes, the mortals (Demoke, Rola, and Adenebie) reveal the functioning of no changing pure consciousness that is the basis for historical change

For Soyinka, the artists, represented through Demoke and Sekoni in ADF and TI, have to take part to the struggle for social change. The latter known also as social alternative has been the main concern of many committed African writers such Chinua Achebe, Ngugi Wa Thiong¶o, Buchi Emetcha, and the like. It deals with the socio political attitudes that the Africans have to adopt for the development of their countries. For Soyinka the natives have, first of all, to apprehend their culture and customs symbolized by mythology and oral tradition. In this regard Haney asserts the importance function of Soyinka¶s drama through these words: ³Like dramatic forms, ritual forms aim to expand individual and collective consciousness and to provide the community with an experience of its own identity.´Soyinka¶s ritual drama have succeeded in dealing with postcolonial main concerns in so far as they ³«achieve both objectives, portraying, among others themes, the conflict between the values of the old society and the new, the

sense of the repetitive futility, folly and waste of human history, and the need for redemption´. By and large, Soyinka¶s dialectical Marxism is more bent to the role of the artists and intellectuals regarding to Nigerian postcolonial.

3.2 Morality and the Yoruba Aesthetics
Each culture is grounded in ethic values which ³may be viewed either as the standard of conduct that the individual has constructed for himself or as the body of obligation and duties which a particular society requires of its members´. This social demand is very rooted in mythology and ritual drama in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI. In the situation of postcolonial Nigeria, the natives who come across British culture tend to reject their own traditional values in so far as they would find it useless to face to modern way of living. In TI, Soyinka depicts assimilation through the Oguazor¶s family who consider themselves as no more natives but rather British citizens. This is illustrated through the µGarden Party¶ they organize with the presence of eminent authorities from the Nigerian government. Their attitude would be due to the fact that they have not been entrenched with their traditional heritage consisting mainly of Yoruba rites and mythology. That is why, William. S Haney in ³Soyinka¶s Ritual Drama: Unity, Postmodernism, and the Mistake of the Intellect´ to assert that ³In the context of modern Africa, colonialism has complicated and corrupted the relationship between ritual and myth, experience and understanding´. On the other hand, there are natives who grasp the significant role African Negro aesthetics, mainly the importance to conserve one¶s own traditional heritage

characterized through religion. In the domain of spirituality, the Yoruba take in account the relationship between the different worlds of existence such as the spirituals, the living and the unborn. In the novel, Yoruba religious believe is symbolized by the stuttering Sekoni. He believes in the link between the human and the divine, the dead and the living, past and present. As he says: ³«b-b bridges d-d don¶t jjjust g-g- go from hhhere to ththere; a bridge also faces backwards´ (TI, 9). Through the image of the dome he conveys the transition spirit: ³life, or d-d-death, b-b- both are c-ccontained in th-the single d-d-dome of ex«istence´ (TI, 122). In ADF, Soyinka depicts Sekoni¶s dome of existence which reflects the past and present time, as complex in so far as they always not record human beings¶ virtues. Adenebi, the orator of council, thinks that presence of the dead couple, who symbolizes the past, can be considered as positive reference for the next generation to come. That is why he praises the dead couple¶s summoning through these words: ³Let us assemble them [the dead couple] round the totem of the nation and we will drink from their resurrected glory´ (ADF, 32). But, the Old Man tells to Adenebi the real reasons that the dead couple is going to make know to the attendant of the ritual meeting. It is highlighted through his words:
Old Man: They [the dead man and the dead woman] have only come to undermine our strength. To preach to us how ignoble we are. They are disgruntled creatures who have come to accuse their superiors as if this [the gathering of the tribes] were a court of law´ (ADF, 33)

The symbiosis and conflicting characteristics of the world of the living and the supernatural are used by Soyinka as techniques of characterization in the view of suggesting the political and social upheavals in post independent Nigerian, but also of expressing pessimistic future.

In the postcolonial context, the new elites become more and more immoral by corrupting the whole Nigerian social system. In African traditional society, the respect of the individual right is very considered and this would permit people to live in harmony. However, European mode of life influence on the natives makes them neglect their own wealthy culture which is characterized through communal way of life. Socially, Western culture, yet adopted by the African societies, dominates traditional teaching in so far as the African is assimilated through the loss of his cultural heritage. Hybrid cultures issue is mainly analyzed in Soyinka¶s works through characters that have dilemma to choose between their own cultures or Western assimilated way of living. It has been a reality in every African society where the colonizers have imposed their rules and beliefs on the natives. For the Yoruba writer, the African intellectual who is experiencing two different cultures has to manage his/her way of life in so far as he would not be too assimilated but also not radically rooted in its dogmas. Many African writers have attended school in the European universities. Once there, they are confronted with the influence of Western way of living which is characterized mainly through individual way of living. Consequently, the black intellectuals find difficult to reintegrate their native lands once back to Africa. It is the case for the group of interpreters, whom the most have stayed in London a while before returning to Nigeria. Considering themselves as the intellectuals of their society, they try to understand the social system brought about by the independence new wave. In this respect, Soyinka adapts mythology characterized by Ogun¶s tendency of creativity and destructiveness through his characters quest for identity.

African Negro literature¶s concerns have been mainly the exploration of mythology, traditional artworks such masks, painting to deal with postcolonial issues. Among them we can mention the threat of moral degradation led by the Western system of ruling. Before the colonial agents left some African countries which have gained independence, they had succeeded in indoctrinating natives who are tending to be assimilated. As mentioned above, each society has its own myth; this is the case of the African societies. In Dictionnaire des mythes litteraires, Pierre Brunel asserts that traditionally, in Black African societies, myth is conceived in relation to its cosmogonic bias. It underlines the closes link which exists between the social and the sacred. It defines the origins, the beliefs, explains and legitimizes social institutions. It gives meaning to their daily realities and constitutes the system of knowledge useful to the ethnic community. In the words of Brunel, in the Black African conception of myth, the world is classified as follows: there is a supreme force and, below this force, there is a hierarchy between the beings. First, there are the genies and the supernatural beings that are of charge of organizing the universe next, the dead ancestors who are followed by the livings, and finally the inferior spirits living in the animal, vegetal and mineral worlds. In the Black African conception of the world there is stratification. This gives way to what Obiajuru Maduakor calls ³a harmonious world view in which the constituent elements are interrelated, inseparable from one another without the risk of disrupting the cosmic order.´ In Africa, each ethnic group possesses cosmogonic stories relating the different stories of creation, the universe, man, and gods. The Yoruba¶s ethnic group, have their own conception of world creation. They have their own vision of

the three aspects of time: past, present and future. According to Obi Maduakor in ³Interpreting The Interpreters´ in Wole Soyinka: An Introduction to its Writing, the Yoruba believe that the world was created by Oludumare who was there supreme deity. He achieved this task with the help of Orisa nla (Obatala). As it is pinpointed in Myth, Literature and the African World, Orisa nla is at the core of the Yoruba pantheon which is made of one hundred and one gods. He was attacked by his rebellious slave, Atunda who threw him a boulder. Consequently, he became fragmented and each fragment turned into deity. Concisely, Yoruba mythology exploration can help the native be in close connection to his/her traditional heritage. Many African¶s concerns have been the apprehension of African identity which is deeply rooted in oral tradition. However, postcolonial Nigeria, characterized through the clash between the native tradition and the colonizers, has resulted to cultural alienation. Soyinka¶s ADF and TI depict the different way of life between the urban and rural areas. The play is thoroughly located in rural setting, especially in the forest where the city dwellers such as Demoke, Rola and Adenibi are summoned to attend the µGathering of the Tribes´. In the novel, Soyinka swifts settings from the urban ones represented through infrastructures, such as the night club where the group of friends use to meet to tell their daily experiences, to rural one symbolized through Egbo¶s native village where he has to be elected as Chief. The assimilated indigenous is no longer interested to his traditional heritage such as the character Egbo, in TI, who prefer to µgo with the tide¶ instead of staying in his village as the Osa (the Chief) (TI, p 14). In ADF, Soyinka analyses the environment protection issue characterized through pollution of the African

nature leading to deforestation. Western industries implemented in Africa have disastrous consequences on the species and the vegetal. In the play, the image of Ogun¶s destructive bent is embodied through the Old Man, council elder orders Adenibi, the council orator, to put the µChiminey of Eroko¶, a disastrous car in order to intoxicate the forest. This process aims at polluting the forests in order to make the Dead man and his wife to make them flee away of ceremonial place. The dead couple, who were victims of Mata Kharibu¶s subjugation in their previous life, is the guests of honor whom the forests have to dance for. Once invited in the present celebration of the living people feast, the immortal witness living people obscenities characterized through the corrupted Slave holder who gives money to the Historian to convince Mata Kharibu to choose his slave boat (ADF, p.61). Despite the destructive position of some protagonists such as the Old Man, Soyinka depicts characters as Adenibi and Eshuoro as the defenders of such crime to the nature which is very essential to human survival. In the first part of the play, Adenebi¶s creative bent is represented through his refusal to infect the forest with the Chimney of Eroko. He considers such deed as useless because the Gathering of the tribes, through Demoke¶s carving of the totem, is conceived as symbol of the human community and spirituals¶ unification. This ritual link constitutes social demand that Yoruba moral aesthetics required for the stability of the socio political paradigms. In this sense, Eshuoro, a forest dweller claims for the unbearable

atmosphere of the forests due the dangerous gas from cars, bus, and the like. It is highlighted through his protesting words: ³today they even dared to chase out the forest spirits by poisoning the air with petrol fumes. Have you seen how much of the forest has been torn down for their petty decorations?´(ADF, 45).

Ogun¶s destructive bent is represented not only parallel to individual perspective as through the crime of Demoke, but also it highlighted through the communal destructiveness on the nature caused by mankind. Soyinka¶s ADF can be considered as a warning of the threat of the living resources¶ deficient due to pollution. For this, he uses supernatural beings, namely the spirits living in the forest as narrative technique. In the same way, Soyinka uses dramatic narrative device as harmatia to deal with human condition particularly African one. Harmatia can be account for as ³a defect in his [the hero] character, or an error of judgment.´ This shows that Soyinka¶s tragic hero such as Demoke in ADF and Egbo in The Interpreters can be judged entirely good or bad. They are, at same time, authors and victims of criminal deeds characterized by oppression and brutality. As we can see, Soyinka¶s works re-examines human predicament mainly the Nigerian one through the use of Yoruba oral tradition such as the µFourth stage¶. Hence, Soyinka considers Yoruba mythology and ritual drama as able to convey and preserve Yoruba ethic values in ADF and TI. However, myth, defined as ³related to a particular civilization, group of people, or to a religion and particularly Greek and Latin´, though is more closed to nature and the sacred, also encompasses moral values. That is why, Soyinka posits that Yoruba gods¶ tragedies, mainly Ogun¶s one, ³emerge as the principal features of the drama of the gods; it is within their framework that traditional society poses its social questions or formulates it moralities´. For the Yoruba playwright, Yoruba morality resides in the fact that living people must diminish the gulf that exists between the ³mystical´, referring to the supernatural beings and the ³mundane´ which stands for human community. It

can be done only through the means of ³sacrifices, the ritual, and the ceremonies of appeasement to those cosmic powers which lie guardian to the gulf´. This hints the issue of sacrifice which is current in Yoruba culture. In TI, Sekoni¶s death on a motor accident on the road can be considered as a sacrifice to Ogun, also known as the god of the road for he can protect drivers against accident. The ceremonies of appeasement is illustrated in ADF, especially in Part Two, through the ritual welcoming for the Dead couple which is performed with traditional arts such as dance, masquerade, drums, flutes, and the like. One of the main preoccupations of African Negro aesthetics is to transmit moral teaching to its collective social consciousness in order to ensure harmony in society. This solidarity is illustrated through these words of Senghor: ³Unity through diversity´. Soyinka shows in his literary works the use of ritual drama pattern as a portrayal of Yoruba social and religious morality. According to the Yoruba, the ³abyss of transition´ embodied by the Promethean god Ogun permits the individual conscious to be more aware of his cultural identity and to resist Eurocentric cultural thread. In fact, Kola tries to fulfill his religious impulse through the painting of Yoruba Pantheon in TI. As for Demoke, in ADF, he regains his moral consciousness thanks to the masquerade ritual process symbolized by the µtransitional abyss¶ which refers to postcolonial Nigeria. As morality is concerned, slavery has been one of the humankind crime ever perpetuated in the history of mankind. Slavery has been often the enterprise of the Europeans who captured African natives to make them work in the plantations mainly in Southern America. However, the slaveholders were not only composed of Westerners; there were also some African monarchs who were trading slaves

within their empires. The damaging effect of slavery is a social issue which is very recurrent in ADF. The playwright through the depiction of Mata Kharibu revises African history which was involved in slavery. Postmodernist fragmented style is bedrock in Soyinka¶s literary works and this is asserted by Femi Osofian through these words: ³Soyinka¶s aesthetics is not just one uniform, monolithic thing, but quite a diversity of styles.´In fact, the fragmented way the events are narrated is the result of the influence of Postmodernism. Applied to Yoruba cosmological beliefs, it consists of the coexistence of the past, present and future time in Soyinka¶s ³transitional abyss´ where the characters have to cross for their redemption and their self-realization which symbolizes Black consciousness. Furthermore, Sekoni embodies Ogun-Will that is his impulse to create or destruct. Like the Yoruba deity, his being is fragmented by the ordeals he undergoes: the cancellation of the plant for the village, the spreading of his history in the whole country, and his mental breakdown. But armed with his will, which is impelled by his pilgrimage to Mecca, he reaches the stage of creativeness in the carving of the wrestler. Soyinka¶s traditional writing is marked by three major events: his childhood, the Nigerian Civil war, and his imprisonment. His young days were filled with occurrences which appear in his writings. This period is alluded to in The Interpreters through Sagoe remembering his Sunday school days at the time when Egbo, Dehinwa, and he were lads. As a boy, he used to attend school where he leant much about Christianity. Though, Soyinka major literary works have influence by the Yoruba traditional belief, he grows up within a Christian family. Among the ³biblical texts´ used in

works, one could read the following homilies as Soyinka himself reveals in Ake: ³Remember Now Thy Creator in the Days of Thy Youth, Remember Now Thy Creator, The Lord Is My Shepherd.´ Through these lines we can see that that Soyinka¶s hybrid experiences characterize his major works such as ADF and TI.

All in all, Soyinka posits Yoruba ritual performance as a mean of selfidentification and of resisting European cultural influence in ADF and TI. These Yoruba ritual devices are specifically represented through symbols which can be divided into language and figures of speech, and the Yoruba diction.


For Western concept of symbolism can be explained as the ³use of symbols to represent things, especially in art and literature.´ Concerning, African Symbolism, it is very diverse in relation to the characteristic of its specific ethnic group folklore and is differently conceived from European symbolism. For Gilbert Durant, the symbol can be defined as ³first of all belonging to the category of the

sign´. According to him the sign permit to summarize a detailed meaning represented through a word or a group of a reduced words. Nevertheless, this symbolical mark is chosen in function of one¶s culture realities; then, the alienated people to this custom may not grasp the meaning of the sign embodied mainly in the different domains of art such plastic arts, literature, and the like. Among the figures of speech which depicts the most the symbol is the allegory. The latter is defined as the ³concrete translation of an idea difficult to grasp or merely to express´. The allegory always encompasses a concrete element or sample of the signified. According to Durant, there are two kind of signs: ³The arbitrary signs which are purely indicative«and the allegoric signs which express to a reality which it means´.Thus, one may understand why Western scholars find difficult to seize African symbolism which is represented through ritual drama and mythology in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI. The mythic symbol goes beyond the physical experience, it makes the reader transcend to an imaginary world which embodies cosmogonic concerns. As asserted in Myth, Literature and The African World, the Yoruba pantheon is composed of deities who represent the transcendental characteristics of human beings¶ creative and destructive nature. Among the Yoruba gods, Ogun is the only who succeed in embodying human being propensity to gain salvation, due to his previous gore experience, by his willing to cross the perilous abyss of transition. In ADF as in TI, the symbolic of human beings is deeply rooted in Yoruba mythology. Among the examples of the symbols in Soyinka¶s works, there is human being such as Demoke in ADF and Sekoni in TI. They are symbolic in so far as, in Yoruba folklore, traditional artists uphold religious role. Concerning natural element symbols used in Soyinka¶s output, gods such as Ogun and its shrine like ³water´, ³rock´, and ³forests´ are very recurrent in ADF and TI.

In this way, one may hint that the principal concerns of symbolism ³is the insensitive characterized in all its forms: ³the unconscious, metaphysic, unnatural and surreal´. These abstract concepts are often represented through physical items such as art composed of language, plastic and performing arts. In the literary field, Soyinka has a particular use of these literary components which are mainly applied in Nigerian postcolonial and Yoruba traditional literary works. Quoting Paul Ricoeur, Durand asserts that one may distinguish two authentic concrete dimensions of symbol: ³«cosmic, and finally poetic, meaning that the symbol always does recourse to the mere language which is able to express concrete things´. Language and imagery are concepts which are variously defined. In The American Heritage, The Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary, language is a system of knowledge found in a social or cultural group of people including a grammar and vocabulary that offer substantial communication among its users as well as vocal sound having symbols so as to shape, convey and communicate thoughts and feeling. It can also be considered as a particular way of uttering or choosing words, and finally a specific manner of speaking or writing. This last definition of language will enables to analyze Soyinka¶s language through the specifities which characterize his writing. Soyinka¶s literary works are the subject of many critics among we can mention The Nigerian writer Chinwezu. It is highlighted through his article

Toward the Decolonization of African Literature, where he deals with the issue of Soyinka hermetic and obscure traditional style. The particularity of Soyinka¶s way of writing is very symbolic regarding to African Negro aesthetics as far as literary works is concerned. In fact, Soyinka has been accused of obscurantism by some literary critics such as Onwuchekwa Jamie, Ihechukwu Madubuke, and Chinweizu Ibekwe in the aforementioned critic work where Chinweizu traces Soyinka¶s

obscurantism back to European literary norms. The Nigerian literary critic asserts that:

Soyinka¶s obscuritantism, however, would seem more readily explained in term of his fidelity to the Hopkinson butchery of English syntax and semantics, and to his deliberate choice of Shakespearean and other archaisms as models for his poetic diction

The critical work tackles the influence of Western literary aesthetics on African literary works. The British cultural hegemony has had considerable consequences on African languages, especially the pidgin and Yoruba diction. In this context, many prominent traditional writers have been criticized of the fact that they do not fully exploit indigenous languages or they only imitate the European literary canon. That¶s why Chinwezu, through his critical text, criticizes Soyinka whom he classifies as a µeuromodernist¶ writer, of imitating too much European aesthetic devices in his literary works. In fact, according to the Nigerian critic, Soyinka¶s texts, embodying conscious message for the illiterate Nigerian masses, can not be deciphered by these latter because of the use of Western linguistic structure. This critical text questions the originality of Soyinka¶s style particularly his use of language and imagery which are very important in the Negro aesthetic domain. This point will allow an interrogation of the motives that urged the rooted and committed Nigerian Yoruba writer, who most of the time, champion the revival of African oral tradition, to use European literary techniques. Chinwezu critical article ³Criticism of African Poetry and Novel´ which treats of Soyinka¶s style including language and imagery will help to review these narrative techniques in relation to Yoruba poetic arts. Consequently, a critical analysis of Soyinka¶s use

of Yoruba ritual drama through an ³old-fashioned, craggy«obscure and inaccessible diction´ will be made. However, Wole Soyinka, although writing in English language, uses Yoruba language and imagery in ADF and TI. This work aims at analyzing the use of pidgin through traditional poetry which will be dealt with in the next sub-chapter. Parallel to, the Senegalese visual art critics such as Mamadou A. Ndiaye and Alpha A. Sy have done much of research about the universality of art. In respect with ideas developed in the chapter ³On the trajectory of universality´ about the artist¶s quest for universality posits by Mamadou Ablaye Ndiaye and Alpha Amadou Sy in African Negro Aesthetics and the Quest for Universality, Soyinka can be put in this universal range of artist because the use of English language as a universal mean of communication.

Contrary to ideas developed in Toward the Decolonization of African Literature, many other critics have carried out important researches on Soyinka, in the view of responding to the reader¶s questions about Soyinka¶s obscure writing. That is the case of the Nigerian literary critic Niyi Osundare in ³Word of Iron, Sentence of Thunder: Soyinka¶s prose style´ where he analyses Soyinka¶s use of hermetic language which is a particular linguistic pattern of Yoruba tradition. He examines the characteristics of Soyinka¶s style as modeled after ³the Pantheon of god¶s, and supernatural beings and archetypal characters that people his work in recurring fashion´. This quotation refers to the diverse and complex characteristics of Soyinka¶s style deriving from his hybrid technique of narration which include Modernism and Yoruba language influence.

4.1 Language and Imagery

Very often, African literature reflects a syncretic combination of written and oral culture impulses that several critics of African literature recognized. The development of modern African writings incorporates both African Negro and Western literary traditions. Soyinka¶s ADF and TI constitute one of those traditional literary works which deal mainly with African Negro aesthetics concerns. However, the traditional writings have undergone influence from Western literary narrative techniques. Therefore Soyinka, like his Nigerian ancestors, uses and retain the strong oral tradition of Africa combined with the Western based literary genre. This highlights the fact that he often gives his major characters like Demoke in ADF and Sekoni in TI a sense of Yoruba culture¶s preservation. To better grasp African symbolism, especially Yoruba one, the sub chapter dealing with language and imagery will permit to have a clear idea of hybrid techniques that Soyinka adopts as narrative technique. In this connection it will be interesting to analyze how both Western devices and African language represented through pidgin are used under the consideration to deal with socio political issues. For this purpose we will analyze some aspects of language and imagery through code switching and tropes in both works. In ADF and TI, Soyinka uses a language that befit particular situations and characters to typify them. At the same time, he shows his mastery of both Yoruba and English languages. His use of language demonstrates his ability to arouse strong emotions through ritual devices and render through different registers a reproduction of Nigerian postcolonial reality. A close description of some distinct situation can help reveal the aesthetic functions that language aims at suggesting in the larger context of ADF and TI. In Soyinka¶s works, both narrator and characters freely mix English with expressions from the Yoruba language. This alternate use of language in socio linguistics is known as code switching. Code switching is,

according to Einer Haugen, ³The alternate use of two languages, including everything from the introduction of a single unassimilated word up to a complete sentence or more, into the context of another language.´ Soyinka uses code switching to reflect Yoruba ideology and shows the interaction of the natives and the colonials through the language they use. This is transparent in the use of Pidgin English which is defined as: ³a form speech which usually has a simplified language and a limited often mixed vocabulary and is used principally for intergroup communication.´ Apart from the use of code switching Soyinka¶s language is characterized by Yoruba mythic figures, words with evocative connotation imagistic, symbolic and metaphoric dimension employed to deal with social experiences. Therefore, it would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of tropes that are aspects of figurative language in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI.

Concerning imagery, it is ³the use of figurative language to produce pictures in the mind of the readers as a group´. Among the particularities of Soyinka¶s language, especially in ADF and TI, are rhetorical devices such as compound, similes, metaphors. Compounds are generally known to be a combination of two or more separate words. In the words of Niyi Osundare in ³Words of Iron, Sentence of Thunder: Soyinka prose style´ in Soyinka¶s works, they are of two kinds: simple compound and multiple compounds. Some are found in TI as shown in this example µSit-down-strike¶ (TI, 76) and µDum-belly-woman¶ (ADF, 40) in ADF. Apart from compounds, Soyinka uses what Osundare calls ³condensed or indirect similes¶ . A simile is ³a word or phrase that compares something to

something else, using the words like or as´; this allows the creative write to make an overt comparison. The following lines from TI and ADF offer cases of

condensed similes: ³The beer reversed direction and Lasunwon¶s nostrils were [like] twin nozzles of a fireman¶s hose´ (TI, 15). In the play, the example of condensed similes is illustrated through this verse: ³Rola: «I suppose you wouldn¶t like to come and lie with the/ Pack of dirty, [like the] yelling grandmas and fleatbitten children? (ADF, 6) Metaphors are an integral part in Soyinka¶s language. The metaphor is ³a rhetorical device which establishes the similarity of two unlikely things by treating them as identical.´ It is composed of a µtenor¶ that is ³the subject to which the metaphoric term applies´ and of a µvehicle¶ which is µthe metaphoric term applies itself´. Besides their tendency to conceal meaning, metaphors are characterized by their imaginative bent which is very rooted in African Negro aesthetics. This is confirmed in Dictionnaire de poetique et de rhetorique where it is written that ³the amount of metaphors correspond to the level of creative sensitiveness and affectivity. Without a sensitive imagination there is no metaphor.´ Like many African writers, Soyinka went abroad to further his studies. In this atmosphere of discovery, he comes across Modernism. It (modernism) sought to reinterpret traditional Catholic teaching in the light of 19th century philosophical, historical, and psychological theories and called for freedom of conscience´. Modernism sought to put the teaching of the Church hand in hand with modern knowledge. With regard to this rebellious attitude, Gabriel Josipovic writes in his Lessons of Modernism, and Other Essay that:

To understand it [Modernism¶s] implications«, we need to see it as the result of and the reaction to the crisis of authority which affected every sphere of activity in Western Europe

and America in the late nineteenth century political, philosophical, scientific and artistic.

According to Josipovici¶s remark, the crisis bred by the emergence of Modernism reached every sphere, art including. The impact of the movement on this particular field is underscored in The Oxford English Dictionary where Modernism is synonymous with:

The method, style or attitude of modern artists«especially a style of painting in which the artist deliberately breaks away from classical and traditional methods of expressions; hence, a similar style or movement in architecture, literature, music, etc.

In literature, Modernism, as a literary movement, corresponds to the writer¶s decision to, intentionally, divorce from the rules or the ways which govern writing. For instance, Modernist writers tend to proceed to a fragmentation of the story instead of adopting the traditional linear one. There is also the fractured plot and the important use of flashbacks as well. This study shows how, through ³anachronies´, this new style appears in Soyinka¶s ADF and TI. Cohan and Shires defines ³anachronies´ as the ³specific points of disparity between the temporal order of the story sequence and that of the narration´. They are made up of ³prolepses´ and ³analepses.´ For Yves Reuter in Introduction a l¶analyse du roman, the first ³consists in relating or in evoking in advance a subsequent event´ whereas the second also known as µflashbacks¶, ³consists in relating or evoking afterwards an early events.´ ADF and TI hold several analepses. In the play, most of the events are belatedly narrated though they should appear earlier. Indeed, it is at the Second Part that the reader has clear understanding of the characters¶ past crimes which they acknowledge through

ritual performance such as masquerade. Demoke a carver, Rola a whore , and Adenebi a council orator respectively have linking expericiences in the Court of Mata Kharibu which is located back to the eighteen century. The swift of the setting from the present to the past is depicted through Aroni¶s magical intervention: ³Aroni wave his hand in a circle. The court of Mata Kharibu lights up gradually. Two thrones. One contains Mata Kharibu, the other, his queen, Madam Tortoise, both surrounded by splendor.´(ADF, p. 51) In regard to the novel, Maduakor writes:

The Interpreters has no continuous and firmly established story lines; it has instead, a series of apparently unrelated and sometimes symbolic episodes featuring the major characters. Soyinka abandons the linear narrative shuttles back and forth as it shifts it focuses arbitrarily from the present occupations of the major characters to their pasts, back again to the present and, sometimes to the future.

At the outset, Soyinka thrust the reader into the present with Egbo, Sagoe, Dehinwa, Bandele, Lasunwon, and Sekoni who meet in a night club in Lagos (TI, 7) This scene is interrupted by an analepses relating Egbo¶s trip to Osa (TI, 10) at the end of which Soyinka goes back to the first scene (TI, 14) before introducing another analepses revealing Egbo¶s childhood experience (TI, 16). From this stage, the nightclub episode reappears but this time, it is interrupted by a series of analepses: Sekoni¶s homeward voyage from Europe (TI, 26), his frustration with his job, and the misfortune befalling him following the cancellation of his plant (TI, 27-28). In his article µThe Interpreters- A Form of Criticism´ Mark KinkeadWeekes argues about the abrupt manner in which these analepses are presented:

Now we plunge without warning from the idealistic engineer, dreaming on the boat home of unleashing the transforming

power of technology on an undeveloped landscape, to the pointless frustration of his desk job, and then to the way he is trapped by a corrupt system into a public disgrace which makes money for his chief and lands Sekoni in a mental hospital.

After the flashback to Sekoni¶s past, the narrative comes again to the nightclub gathering. Through this chapter, the reader notes the presence of several analepses which justify the shuttle between present and past.

These observations constitute a good example of the idea of complementary of cultures which Soyinka handles in Myth, Literature and the African World. They also convey his universal trend: his desire to bring all back to one single unit in spite of culture differences and other hurdles that may exist between people and races. As he says in The Man Died ³after all, there is only one common definition for a people and a nation- a unit nation bound together by a common ideology.´

The fragmentation of the text in ADF and TI is not only due to the influence of Modernism but also to the contrast between present and past realities as well as the impact of Yoruba concept of time as illustrated in TI. However, it is worth noting that Soyinka uses the modernist techniques of narration mainly to express his opposition to the current Nigerian political atmosphere: corruption, dictatorship, and injustice. Just as modernist writers deviate from the standard rules of narration to protest against the then evolution of the world in general so does Soyinka with the Nigerian political environment. This is achieved especially thanks to the fragmented narrative found in ADF and TI. The fact that Soyinka¶s writing is influenced by his own experience may not be surprising because as Virginia Woolf writes ³novels are not rooted in a preconceived plan or method but in hidden parts of the author¶s own life.

Consequently, the manner an African writer narrates incidents in a literary work can be based on occurrences encountered in African Negro Aesthetics.

By and large, Soyinka¶s literary works are often marked by the use of English language style mixed with indigenous languages.

4.2. Yoruba language Influence
The use of imagery is very specific in Soyinka¶s works in so far as his metaphors encompass images of his own mythology. That is why, his inserting elements pertaining to Yoruba culture makes the non- Yoruba readers go to great pains before grasping his ideas. However, Soyinka literary works succeed in dealing with socio political issues through the use of native language which is characterized mainly through poetry. Concerning poetic language, it is not only found in TI; it is also present in his play ADF. It can play the role of proverbs as in Agboreko¶s advising the old man to be patient. In other word, the virtues of patience are valued in this example:
The eye that looks down will certainly see the nose. The hand that deeps to the bottom of the pot will eat the biggest snail. The sky grows no grass but if the earth called her barren, it will drink no more milk. The foot of the snake is not split in two like a man¶s, in hundreds like the centripede but if Ajere could dance patiently like the snake, he will uncoil the chain that leads into the dead«(ADF, 29)

According to Omole, Standard English is the basic language in which TI is narrated. However, Soyinka often uses words or sentences pertaining to other language such as pidgin and Yoruba. The conversation of the taxi-driver with Sagoe highlights the presence of pidgin in his language:

Taxi-driver: ³Where you wan go for Obalende? Sagoe: ³To the police station´ Taxi-driver: ³Oga mi, hm, so even Nigeria Police no fit arrest this foolish rain´. (TI, 109)

These three instances of code switching from English to pidgin are significant. In Omole¶s words, they underline the diversity of social in TI. There uneducated people like Mathias, Greenbottle, and the taxi driver who express themselves in pidgin which is qualified as ³the language of uneducated businessmen, messengers, and many unskilled workers´. Alongside them, stand such other individuals as Sagoe and Chief Winsala who have reached a certain level of education; in sum they belong to the intelligentsia which speak standard English. Another case of code switching (shift from English to Yoruba) focuses on Chief Winsala¶s monologue consequent to his quarrel with Greenbottle:
Agba n¶t¶ ara«it is no matter for rejoicing when a child sees his farther naked, l¶ogolonto. Agba n¶t¶ ara the wise eunuch keeps from women, the hungry clerk dous coast over his narrow belt and who will says his belly is flat? But when elgungun is unmasked in the market, can he then ask egbe to snatch him into the safety of igbale? Won¶t they tell him the grove is meant only for keepers of mystery? Agba n¶t¶ ara. When the Bal borrows a horse tail he sends a menial; so when the servant comes back empty handed he can say, Did I send you? The adulterer makes assignation in a room with one exit, is he not asking to feed his scrotum to the fishes of Ogun? Agba n¶t¶ ara« (ADF, pp. 91- 92).

Through this paragraph, Soyinka gives an example of code switching from English to Yoruba. For Omole, this code switching ³is indeed a good example of what Traugott and Pratt call situational code switching, a switching motivated by embarrassment and belated self consciousness´. In the glossary to TI µAgba n¶t¶ ara¶ means respect for an elderly body, µelegungun¶ is an ancestral masquerade, and µigbale¶ grave of exclusive cults. For Omole, the interest of this paragraph lays on two facts. The fist is connected to the recurrent use of µAgba n¶t¶ ara¶ by Chief Winsala. It displays the intensity of shame for he knows that owing to his age he deserves more respect. The second is related to the metaphorical feature of the code switching as shown in the words µelegungun¶ and µigbale¶. Winsala knows that he is on the verge of being exposed physically and morally (l¶ongoloto). He is also aware that his subterfuge (like elegungun) will be publicly uncovered and that even his cult (igbale) cannot save him. Still, among the specifities of Soyinka¶s traditional language, there is the use of punctuation. In ADF and mostly in TI, the reader encounters sentences which are not punctuated or others which are not µnormally¶ punctuated. In the first case, it is stress through the Ant Leader¶s to the Forest Head:
Ant Leader: Freedom indeed we have To choose our path To turn to the left or the right Like Spider in the sand pit And the great ball of eggs Pressing on his back.(ADF, 78)

In the novel, a typical example of unpunctuated sentence is highlighted through this passage:
Pinkshore knew all about the professor and deans and registrars and the chancellors vice pro and real and senate councilors and chairman and their families down to the most intimate detail and he knew the simple fact that professor Oguazor had three sons and one five years old daughter gave him much sorrow and pain because he could not publicly acknowledge her he had her by the housemaid and the poor girl was tucked away in private school in Islington and in fact was Oguazor¶s favourite child and the plastic apple of his eye«so it was obvious to him that Sagoe an impostor who had come to steal the silver and it was a good thing to perform small services for this new black elite which he secretly despised but damned it at all if the asses are susceptible to fawning and flattery let¶s give it them and get what we can out of them while the going is good. (TI, 149)

In this passage relating Sagoe¶s presence to the party organized by the Oguazors, there is no elements of punctuation be the commas, semicolons, colons, or even periods. This absence causes problems of understanding to the reader. This failure to punctuate sentences in Soyinka¶s literary works, in general, can be explained by two main factors. Firstly, there is the state of possession to which the oral performer or the actor on the stage is subjected to a as previous outlined. Secondly, and in correlation with the first, there is the fact that, as Osundare underscores, ³many of Soyinka¶s sentences are psychological sentences, not guided by the grammar book rubric or punctuation with its rigid commas and full stops, but directed by the pulses of the mind and the rhythm of consciousness.´ With regard to Osundare¶s comment, Soyinka¶s lack of punctuation can be link to French Surrealism which is

³pure psychic automatism, by which it is intended to express, verbally, in writing, or by other means, the real process of thought.´ In the second case, that is sentences which are not dully punctuated, they can be labeled as hyperbaton. In Introduction a l¶analyse stylistique, Catherine Fromilhague and Anne Sancier Chateau define the term as a device that ³places out of the syntactic group a term which should be part of it.´ This applied to ADF and TI as shown in these lines:
Demoke:«sometimes I merely trace patterns on wood. With fire.( ADF, 18) Adenebi:..And this could have been a profitable season. A generous season.(ADF, 34) I once worked in a library. In Paris. (TI, 188) I¶ve been to several European countries and human beings are still the same. Boring. Insincere.( TI, 190)

Here also µfire¶ and µA generous season¶ are isolated for a matter of emphasis. These rejections are found in poetry with the technique of run on line also known as enjambment which moves apart one or several words to the next verse whereas syntactically and semantically they complete the previous. There is also, in Soyinka¶s works, the influence of Yoruba vocabulary such as ³Agidigbo´ and ³apala´ which means a kind of Yoruba music. Soyinka¶s language can be studied through various stylistic aspects. However, this should not prevent us from analyzing the impact of his cultural symbolism on his language which is one of African Negro aesthetic aspect. However, African Negro symbolism differs from European one in so far as the former does not follow the Western logic. In fact, Negro symbolism ³ does not

mean what it represents, but what it suggests, what it creates.´

From this

perspective, we can have an understanding of Soyinka¶s symbolism which is grounded on Yoruba folklore. To put in a nutshell, Soyinka has succeed in merging two kind of language from different cultures, which are British and Yoruba, to convey post Nigerian thematic aspects. Indo European languages, mainly based on Greek civilization, are considered as languages deem to be used in different scales of social activities. By contrast to African language, it has its specific linguistic framework composed of syntax, figures of speech, linguistic idiosyncrasies which are thought to be more adaptable in literature. On the other hand, Soyinka has demonstrated the relevant utilization of African diction, mainly Yoruba one, through ADF and TI as able to deal with postcolonial issues. Pidgin generally sounds queer in the ear of the alienated people; hence its functional role is the most questioned by some Eurocentric scholars. That is why, the Yoruba writer utilizes Yoruba language in his texts to show its importance as well as in the indigenous societies but also its implication in political activities. In other words, Soyinka¶s use of hybrid technique of narration is significant in so far as it permits to acknowledge the complementary aspect of cultures. Besides, Soyinka chooses to tackle his text with his own language in order to make the natives to easily identify themselves in their traditional origin rooted in mythology, ritual performance and domestic policies. In ³Wole Soyinka and A Living Dramatist: A Playwright¶s Encounter with Soyinka¶s Drama´, Femi Osofian asserts that ³ Soyinka had found the ingenious solution of making his English indigenous to the listening ear, in such a way that his characters still retained their authenticity, and the locus of the action remained identifiable African´.


This study has displayed the basis of Wole Soyinka¶s commitment to deconstruct negative stereotypical portrayals of African Negro aesthetics. He alters

considerations that perceive Black aesthetics as decorative and promote it as playing essential roles. Subsequently, we become aware of some traditional artworks depiction. Those Yoruba traditional items reveal the use of authentic artistic material as themes and narrative techniques. Those literary aesthetic devices, including mainly archetypal characterization, Yoruba traditional art forms such as songs, sculpture and painting are religious and political responses to racist Western hegemonic culture and African new elite¶s greediness. In the traditional and the political levels, Soyinka has striven to deconstruct racist Eurocentric thought regarding to African tradition in ADF and TI. These literary works constitute striking symbols of Soyinka¶s Yoruba traditional themes and aesthetics. Soyinka moves to retrieve and chant Yoruba culture in so far as his works can be viewed through several aspects. In the aesthetic perspective, characters such as Yoruba supernatural beings and the living people share the same universe with the mediation of traditional aesthetics which plays an essential role because it ensures social harmony. Such a social idealism shows the effectiveness of Black aesthetics which is materialized through Yoruba tradition. Soyinka emphasizes in ADF and TI the essential presence of Yoruba artworks without which tragedy and drama cannot be performed. Yoruba artworks are depicted, in Soyinka¶s literary works, through three aesthetic categories namely visual, poetic and performed arts. Visual arts composed of sculpture or carving and painting upholding a sacred role are recurrently employed as narrative devices in ADF and TI. For Yoruba social hierarchy, Soyinka¶s characters such as Demoke and Sekoni occupy considerable place since they incarnate the spirits¶ power. They are viewed as

historical and religious conservators. In fact, their sculptural artworks are considered as spiritual in Yoruba traditional beliefs. Concerning plastic arts such as painting, Soyinka depicts it as capable to convey the collective consciousness and the religious beliefs of one ethnic group as it is illustrated through Kola¶s Pantheon in TI. Moreover, poetic arts are considered by the Yoruba playwright and novelist Soyinka to be the core of African Negro aesthetics. In fact, Soyinka uses poetic arts to portray Yoruba ritual drama. Music, which is materialized through the traditional material drums, does not only convey melody as for Western musical tools but emphasize on the Negro sensuality: the rhythm. There are many cases of performed masquerades, in ADF and TI, with basic artistic materials such as masks, music and dance. In this context, the performer is no longer considered as a simple living person but a spirit. Hence, Soyinka, in his novels and drama works, uses ³elegungun´ (Yoruba masquerade) to show the religious importance of African Negro tools. All in all, through this survey, we have a deep insight in the traditional art forms such as carving, painting, poetry and masquerade used as narrative structure by the Yoruba writer in his writings. These traditional narrative techniques are interwoven with the plot, whose themes are grounded in the Yoruba world and the Nigerian postcolonial context. On the one hand, Soyinka uses art to awake black consciousness regarding to their changing society under Western culture influence and to help African to be grounded on their cultural values. The Nigerian playwright has relentlessly struggled against assimilation which goes with a disdain of tradition conveyed through cultural values. Some of his characters face a dilemma, having to choose

between their ancestor¶s heritage and the material values from Western countries. However, Soyinka suggests responses to cultural dilemma through the his traditional theory the ³Fourth stage´ which can be considered as a means to struggle against cultural domination and the new leaders¶ greediness. Moreover, Soyinka¶s use of hybrid language composed mainly of English and Pidgin pertain many of his literary works. The mix of this different language is not fortuitous because it has permitted to show the complementary aspect of Western and African aesthetics. This work has permitted to show Soyinka¶s handle of diverse language through his text to convey socio-political issues which are very rooted in postcolonial Nigerian. One the other hand, this study allows us to give ways out to postcolonial concerns embodied by a corrupted ruling class and an illiterate working class. In this context, the artist is expected to play the role of a critical analyst and interpreter of the changing Nigerian society in order to find new solutions to the socio-political and cultural turmoil. Though Soyinka does not grant radical responses to postcolonial issues as the Nigerian and South African writers Chinua Achebe and Alex La Guma have done in their literary works, the Yoruba playwright posits essentially African Negro aesthetics as a means of resistance to Western indoctrination.


I.Primary sources

Soyinka, Wole.

A Dance of the Forests. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963.

. The Interpreters. London: André Deutsh, 1965.

II. Other Works by Wole Soyinka

2.1 Novel . Season of Amony. London Rex Collings, 1973.

2.2 Plays . Kongi¶s Harvest. London: Oxford University Press, 1967. . Collected Plays Vol 1. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973 . Death and the King¶s Horse Man. London: Methuen Drama, 1993.

2.3 Autobiography

. Aké-The years of Childhood. London: Rex Collings, 1983.

2.4 Essays . Myth, Literature and the African World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. . Art, Dialogue and Outrage: Essay on Literature and Culture. Ibadan: New Horn Press, 1988.

III.Secondary Sources

Adebayo, Williams. ³Ritual and Political Unconscious: The Case of Death and the King¶s Horseman´ in Research in African Literature, Indiana: Indiana University Press, Spring. 1993. Vol.24, No. 1 Chinweizu, Ibekwe, et al. Toward the Decolonization of African Literature London: Howard University Press, 1983.

Crehan, Stewart. ³The Spirit of Negation in the Works of Soyinka´ in Research in African Literature Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1990, pp. 16-18 Davies, Carole Boyce and Anne Adams Graves ed. Ngambika: Studies of Women in African Literature. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1990. Fromilhague, Catherine and Anne Sancier-Chateau. Introduction a l¶analyse du roman. Formes et genres. Paris: Nathan/VUEF, 2002. Gibbs, James. Critical Perspectives on Wole Soyinka. London: Heinemann, 1981.

Gurnah, Abdulrazak ed. Essays on African Writing. A Re-evaluation. Oxford: Heinemann, 1993. Haney, William S. ³Soyinka¶s Ritual Drama: Unity, Postmodernism, and the Mistake of the Intellect´ in Research in African Literature Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1990, pp. 22- 42 Jones, Eldred Durosimi .The writing of Wole Soyinka. London: Heinemann, 1988.

,Eldred Durosimi & Eustace Palmer ed. African Literature Today Recent Trends in the Novel. London: Heinemann, 1983. Josipovic, Gabriel. The Lessons of Modernism and Other Essays. New York: Longman, 1991. Maduakor, Obi. Wole Soyinka: An Introduction to his writing. Ibadan: Heinemann, 1991. Maja-Pearce, Adewale. Wole Soyinka an Appraisal. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1994. Ormole, James O. ³Code-Switching in Soyinka¶s The Interpreters´ in The Language of Literature.Trenton: Africa World Press, 1998. Osofian, Femi. ³Wole Soyinka and A Living Dramatist: A Playwright¶s Encounter with Soyinka¶s Drama´ in Wole Soyinka: An Appraisal (Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1994. Osundare,Niyi. ³Word of Iron, Sentence of Thunder: Soyinka¶s Prose Style´ in African Literature Today Recent Trends in the Novel .London: Heinemann, 1983, pp. 2- 30 Ndiaye, Mamadou Ablaye & Sy, Alpha Amadou. African Negro Aesthetics and the Quest for Universality .Dakar: Nouvelles du Sud, 2007. Senghor, Leopold Sedar. Liberte I, Negritude et Humanisme . Paris: Edition du Seuil, 1974, Vol 1.

Stewart, Danièle. Le Roman africain anglophone depuis 1965 d¶Achebe à Soyinka. Paris: L¶Harmattan, 1988.

IV.General Works
Barber, Karin. I Could Speak Until Tomorrow: Oriki, Woman and the Past in Yoruba Town. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press, 1992. Beier, Ulli. The Origin of Life and Death: African Creation Myth. Heinemann: Heinemann Educationnel Books, 1966.

Cohan, Steve & Linda M. Shires, Telling Stories: A Theorical Analysis of Narrative Fiction.London: Rouledge, 1991. Diop, Cheikh Anta. Antériorité des civilisations nègres: Mythes ou vérités historique? Dakar: Présence Africaine, 1993. Durant, Gilbert. L¶imagination symbolique Paris: Presse Universitaire de France, 1994. Eyre, Banning. In Griot Time, An American Guitarist in Mali Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 2000. Faye, Amade. Le Thème de la mort dans la litterature Seerer, essays Dakar : Les Nouvelles Editions Africaines,1987. Finnegan, Ruth. Oral Literature in Africa. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1970. Grellet, Francoise. A Handbook of Literary Terms. Paris: Hachette Livre, 1994. Heywood, Christopher. Perspectives on African Literature. London: Heinemann, 1971. Ibrahim, Jibrin ed. Expanding Democratic Space in Nigeria. Dakar: CODESRIA, 1997.

Irele, Abiola. The African Experience in Literature and Ideology. London: Heinemann, 1981. Jeyifo, Bediun. Tragedy, History and Ideology in Marxism and African Literature .London: African World Press, 1985. Locke, Alain. The New Negro, Voices of the Harlem Renaissance. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992. Morrison, Toni. Beloved New York: Penguin Books, 1987. Sougou, Omar. Writing Across Cultures, Gender Politics and Difference in the Fiction of Buchi Emecheta. Amsterdam: Editions Rodipi B.V., 2002. Tage, Philip. ³Anything Dead Coming Back to Life Hurts: Circularity in Beloved´ in Dangerous Freedom: Fusion and Fragmentation in Toni Morrison¶s Novels Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1996 Tutuola, Amos. The Palm Wine Drinkard London: Faber and Faber. LDT,? Wa Thiong¶o, Ngugi. Devil on the Cross Oxford: Heinemann, 1982.

V. Web Bibliography
-Mc Pheron, William. Stanford Presidential Lecture in the Humanities and Arts: Wole Soyinka. Stanford University, 1998 (http: // Accessed on 28-05-09.

-Wikipedia. The Definition of Aesthetics. The Definition of Aesthetics (http: // Wkipedia.The Definition of Aesthetics/index.html). Accessed on 29-05-09. -Encyclopedia of Irish and World Art. Religious Religious.Definition.History/index.html). Accessed on 01-06-09. Art (http//

-Uzoatu, Uzor Maxim. The Essential Soyinka (http: // african-writing. Com/seven/uzoruzoatu/html). Accessed on10-06-09.

VI.Reference Works
-The Columbia Encyclopedia Columbia: Columbia University Press, 2008. -Wehmeier, Sally. Oxford Advanced Learner¶s Dictionary. Oxford; Oxford University Press, 2000. -Gwinn, Robert P. et al, The New Encyclopaedia. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1989. -The American Heritage, Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987-Bridgewater, William & Kurtz, Seymour. -Dictionnaire Encyclopedic, Paris : Hachette, 1980. - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Third Edition .Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1963.

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